|This article is about the TV Series character. You may be looking for his appearance in the Film Series or Onslaught, or his No Man's Land, Our World, Secret Lair, Social Game: Chronicles, Comic Series, Novel Series, Assault, Escapists, March to War, Pilot, Rick Grimes 2000, Road to Survival, or Survivors counterpart. For other pages with the same name, see: Rick|
- "I found 'em."
- —Rick telling himself this after seeing his new family united one last time, knowing his mission in life is completed.[src]
Rick Grimes is the former protagonist and a survivor of the outbreak in AMC's The Walking Dead. He is a former sheriff's deputy who was shot in the line of duty and fell into a coma, only to awaken and find himself in the midst of the apocalypse. He travels to Atlanta, Georgia, in search of his wife, Lori, and his son, Carl, who have traveled to Atlanta with his best friend, Shane Walsh.
After reuniting with his family, along with discovering a group of survivors, Rick gradually becomes the de-facto leader in their search of a safe haven. He eventually enters a relationship with Michonne Hawthorne and they later conceive a child together. He later becomes the leader of the Alexandria Safe-Zone and one of the four co-leaders of the Militia along with Maggie Rhee, Ezekiel, and Cyndie before its disbanding.
A year and a half after the war against Negan Smith, Rick adopts a more peaceful and democratic way of leadership and tries to accomplish Carl's dream of rebuilding civilization. After blowing up a bridge in order to protect his loved ones and allies, Rick is presumed dead by his beloved comrades. However, he is secretly rescued by Anne and is taken away on a helicopter by the CRM to an unknown location to begin a new journey.
- 1 Overview
- 2 Pre-Apocalypse
- 3 Post-Apocalypse
- 3.1 Season 1
- 3.2 Season 2
- 3.2.1 "What Lies Ahead"
- 3.2.2 "Bloodletting"
- 3.2.3 "Save the Last One"
- 3.2.4 "Cherokee Rose"
- 3.2.5 "Chupacabra"
- 3.2.6 "Secrets"
- 3.2.7 "Pretty Much Dead Already"
- 3.2.8 "Nebraska"
- 3.2.9 "Triggerfinger"
- 3.2.10 "18 Miles Out"
- 3.2.11 "Judge, Jury, Executioner"
- 3.2.12 "Better Angels"
- 3.2.13 "Beside the Dying Fire"
- 3.3 Season 3
- 3.3.1 "Seed"
- 3.3.2 "Sick"
- 3.3.3 "Killer Within"
- 3.3.4 "Say the Word"
- 3.3.5 "Hounded"
- 3.3.6 "When the Dead Come Knocking"
- 3.3.7 "Made to Suffer"
- 3.3.8 "The Suicide King"
- 3.3.9 "Home"
- 3.3.10 "I Ain't a Judas"
- 3.3.11 "Clear"
- 3.3.12 "Arrow on the Doorpost"
- 3.3.13 "Prey"
- 3.3.14 "This Sorrowful Life"
- 3.3.15 "Welcome to the Tombs"
- 3.4 Season 4
- 3.5 Season 5
- 3.6 Season 6
- 3.7 Season 7
- 3.8 Season 8
- 3.8.1 "Mercy"
- 3.8.2 "The Damned"
- 3.8.3 "Monsters"
- 3.8.4 "Some Guy"
- 3.8.5 "The Big Scary U"
- 3.8.6 "The King, the Widow, and Rick"
- 3.8.7 "Time for After"
- 3.8.8 "How It's Gotta Be"
- 3.8.9 "Honor"
- 3.8.10 "The Lost and the Plunderers"
- 3.8.11 "Dead or Alive Or"
- 3.8.12 "The Key"
- 3.8.13 "Do Not Send Us Astray"
- 3.8.14 "Still Gotta Mean Something"
- 3.8.15 "Worth"
- 3.8.16 "Wrath"
- 3.9 Onslaught
- 3.10 Season 4: Fear The Walking Dead
- 3.11 Season 9
- 3.12 Film Series
- 3.13 Season 10
- 4 Killed Victims
- 5 Relationships
- 5.1 Lori Grimes
- 5.2 Carl Grimes
- 5.3 Judith Grimes
- 5.4 Shane Walsh
- 5.5 Michonne Hawthorne
- 5.6 Daryl Dixon
- 5.7 Morgan Jones
- 5.8 Glenn Rhee
- 5.9 Carol Peletier
- 5.10 Maggie Rhee
- 5.11 Leon Basset
- 5.12 Duane Jones
- 5.13 Andrea
- 5.14 T-Dog
- 5.15 Morales
- 5.16 Jacqui
- 5.17 Merle Dixon
- 5.18 Dale Horvath
- 5.19 Amy
- 5.20 Sophia Peletier
- 5.21 Jim
- 5.22 Edwin Jenner
- 5.23 Hershel Greene
- 5.24 Beth Greene
- 5.25 Otis
- 5.26 Patricia
- 5.27 Jimmy
- 5.28 Dave
- 5.29 Tony
- 5.30 Randall Culver
- 5.31 Axel
- 5.32 Oscar
- 5.33 Tomas
- 5.34 Andrew
- 5.35 The Governor
- 5.36 Tyreese Williams
- 5.37 Sasha Williams
- 5.38 Bob Stookey
- 5.39 Clara
- 5.40 Sam
- 5.41 Patrick
- 5.42 Lizzie Samuels
- 5.43 Joe
- 5.44 Dan
- 5.45 Tara Chambler
- 5.46 Abraham Ford
- 5.47 Eugene Porter
- 5.48 Rosita Espinosa
- 5.49 Gareth
- 5.50 Gabriel Stokes
- 5.51 Bob Lamson
- 5.52 Noah
- 5.53 Aaron
- 5.54 Deanna Monroe
- 5.55 Spencer Monroe
- 5.56 Jessie Anderson
- 5.57 Pete Anderson
- 5.58 Sam Anderson
- 5.59 Ron Anderson
- 5.60 Eric Raleigh
- 5.61 Enid
- 5.62 Tobin
- 5.63 Olivia
- 5.64 Nicholas
- 5.65 Carter
- 5.66 Denise Cloyd
- 5.67 Paul Rovia
- 5.68 Gregory
- 5.69 Negan Smith
- 5.70 Simon
- 5.71 Dwight
- 5.72 Ezekiel
- 5.73 Anne
- 5.74 Siddiq
- 5.75 Alden
- 5.76 Justin
- 6 Appearances
- 7 Trivia
- 8 See Also
- 9 References
Rick is typically a calm, smart man, being both a good friend and a dedicated father. However, he will often stubbornly cling to his strong personal moral code, which has resulted in numerous questionable decisions and extra stress within the group. Rick's greatest fault, perhaps, is his uncanny ability to place responsibility on himself and set for himself goals that are impossible to reach. Despite his faults, his combat skill and general care for all members of the group have led him to be looked up to, and allowed him to take the leadership role within the group. Rick is strongly non-religious, admitting to never have been much of a believer and instead putting his faith in his family and the group members around him.
Relying on his former police skills and survival tactics, Rick has evolved into a battle-hardened survivor who will protect his family and group without question. In many ways, Rick has become exactly like Shane; being ready to destroy a threat, living or dead, without a moment's hesitation, not trusting anyone except for his group, and knowing that with the world the way it is now, there are very few good people left and if you don't fight for your survival, then you will die. In addition to picking up some of Shane's ideologies, Rick has displayed similarities to other primary antagonists that he has encountered and killed (or who other members of his group have killed) in the past, particularly the Governor, Joe, Gareth, and most recently Negan (who is currently alive). However, unlike the aforementioned enemy survivors, Rick retains some of his humanity and honor for the sake of his family and friends, looking to them for guidance in making sure that he doesn't completely lose his sanity and devolve into an another antagonist himself. This is in direct contrast to the people he's faced, who have almost completely sacrificed their humanity in favor of personal survival by any means necessary, and who exert unchallenged power and control over other survivors and give into their worst inclinations for their own benefit, rather than the benefit of others.
Throughout the first season, while adapting to the new apocalyptic world, Rick maintains his honor and moral code and is shown to be incredibly protective of his group and their well-being as seen when he attempted to return to Atlanta to save Merle Dixon's life and also refused to surrender Glenn to the Vatos Gang. He is also shown to be willing to use deadly force to protect his group as he threatens Daryl Dixon a few times with his revolver when he acts out. Upon entering the CDC and learning of the severity of the apocalypse, Rick refuses to allow his family and group to die in the exploding CDC and claims that there is still hope and is able to convince Dr. Jenner to let them try for as long as they can.
By the second season, Rick is still shown to be extremely protective of his group as seen by his devotion to find the missing Sophia, despite Shane's argument that she is dead and also refuses to risk his group's residency on Hershel's farm due to Lori's pregnancy by going along with Hershel's views of the Walkers still being people. After the massacre of the walkers in the barn and discovering Sophia, Rick regrets his decisions that put the group at risk. While making amends with Hershel, Rick, for the first time is forced to use deadly force to protect his allies from death as he kills Dave and Tony, two men who attempt to force their way onto Hershel's farm. Despite this, he refuses to leave Randall, a member of Dave and Tony's group behind to die following an attack on him, Glenn and Hershel. Saving Randall's life and deciding to let him go is the ultimate moment in his rivalry with Shane and the two physically fight each other over his life. After learning of the threat of Randall's group, Rick reluctantly decides to execute him, but stops at the last minute after seeing Carl watch. After deciding to once again release Randall to honor Dale's wishes, Shane attempts to assassinate Rick by killing Randall and luring him out into the woods under the guise that Randall is free and armed, however Rick kills Shane instead, an act the visibly breaks him. Following this and the destruction of Hershel's farm, Rick has become noticeably colder and strains his relationship with Lori, Carl and the group by revealing Jenner's secret of everyone being infected and his killing of Shane. Following this, he declares himself leader of the group.
By Season 3, Rick had become battle hardened after months on the road and is still distant from members of the group, mostly Lori. Despite this, Rick is able to use his leadership skills and combat abilities to keep the group alive for many months and leads the group in taking the abandoned and overrun West Georgia Correctional Facility, using desperate survival tactics they had come to learn on the road all winter. Rick at this point also has no hesitation in killing human threats as seen when he mercilessly killed the prisoners leader, Tomas, for attempting to kill him twice and also locking Andrew in a courtyard of walkers to die. Rick has also shown that he no longer trusts outside members of his group and refuses to allow Oscar and Axel, two prisoners to join his group following the assassination attempt on him by Tomas, showing he's more cruel. He eventually accepts them once they prove their loyalty to him by killing Andrew, who survived being left to die and launched an attack on the prison in order to exterminate the Survivors and nearly killed Rick himself, though Oscar saves him.
After Lori's death, Rick becomes very emotionally unstable, and it's not until just before the group learns of the Woodbury threat that Rick comes back to his senses. By this point, Rick has become a ruthless, uncompromising leader of survivors, in contrast to his high moral code and values in previous seasons. After the Governor causes Andrea's death, Rick seems to regain much of his old self and finally begins to trust other survivors and accept them into the prison. In the six-month jump between the third and fourth seasons, Rick relinquishes his leadership position in order to focus more on raising Carl and making the prison self-sustaining. During the fourth season, many of the other group members ask Rick to step back into a leadership role, most notably Daryl Dixon. After the Governor returns and attacks the prison, Rick becomes distraught and remorseful over the loss of the prison, the death of Hershel and the assumed death of his daughter Judith. He becomes more protective of Carl and gets into a few arguments with him. After Rick reunites with Michonne, he loosens his grip on Carl a bit and allows himself some time to rest, albeit only temporarily.
After he, Carl, and Michonne are forced to evacuate a house they were residing in to evade the Claimers, he comes across a poster pointing to Terminus. He decides to take a chance and see the supposed sanctuary. On the way, they encounter the Claimers, who tracked them down in order to exact revenge on Rick for killing one of their group members, Lou. Rick comes to terms with his brutality, which he thought he had put away for good, after he rips out Joe's jugular with his teeth and stabs Dan, who attempted to rape Carl, to death. The next morning, he tells Daryl he knows of his two different personality traits and how he has settled his mind knowing that his brutality has kept his son and the rest of the group alive.
After arriving at Terminus, Rick accepts his leadership position, for which the group respects him. He holds no conflict in his mind anymore and does not doubt his decisions. The wisdom he took from Hershel, who he came to view as a mentor (as well a father figure towards him), Rick now understands that he can retain his humanity by protecting his friends and has stated that he views his group as his family. His darker side is shown through his brutality and he does not hesitate to kill someone who he views as a threat, fearing he or she will come back and harm his family (based on what happened to Lori when Rick failed to kill Andrew, the prisoner who Rick locked in a courtyard of walkers and presumed was killed). During Season 5, following the group's near death experience at Terminus, Rick grows in confidence but develops massive trust issues towards any strangers that he and his group come across, even if they seem timid and harmless. He has a hard time trusting Gabriel Stokes and Aaron, even threatening to kill them once or twice if they did anything that would harm his family and friends. His trust issues are so strong that he even suspects the applesauce Aaron offers to Judith to be poisoned. Aaron points out that he is tied up and that killing Rick's daughter in front of him would only lead to Aaron getting killed by Rick. Aaron tries telling Rick that his trust issues are exaggerated, but Rick remains stubborn and makes it clear that he is a man who doesn't take chances anymore, and forces Aaron to eat the applesauce to prove that it's safe and still threatens to kill him. In the end, Aaron and Gabriel (for the most part) prove that they are not threats.
After arriving in the Alexandria Safe-Zone, Rick cautiously allows himself to relax in the comfort of the community, although it is evident that he still does not trust the inhabitants. He becomes actively involved in the community after Deanna Monroe, the safe-zone's leader appoints him and Michonne as constables. While he appreciates the job, Rick and his group view the Alexandrians as being weak and unfit to survive and he declares that they will take the community for themselves, showing how his mentality has become one of survival for himself and his group. He is willing to kill members of the community if it means the majority will learn to survive, and tries to make them understand what it takes to live in the new world. When his confrontation with the alcoholic and abusive Pete turns violent, he launches a tirade at the shocked Alexandrians in the street, which nearly seals his exile from the community at the hands of Deanna. He is saved by the intervention of Michonne, who knocks him unconscious.
When Walkers manage to get into the community, displaying their defensive vulnerabilities, Rick tells them that they will have to change if they are to survive. When Reg is killed by an enraged Pete, Rick executes him at Deanna's command. In the days following this incident, Rick takes a greater leadership role in the community as Deanna mourns and deals with her overwhelming grief. Although there is distension, Deanna approves of Rick's plans and gives him her support. The two grow closer, and she tries to get Rick to realize that the Alexandrians are all his people now, just as his original group is.
Following a massive invasion of walkers into the safe-zone, which leads to the death of Deanna, Rick becomes the leader of the safe-zone, and his faith in the abilities of the safe-zone's residents improves dramatically as together they all boldly face the herd and kill every walker, effectively reclaiming the safe-zone. Rick reveals to his injured son Carl afterwards that he is ready to show him the new world. Following this he seems to have cooled down a bit in his desire to kill human threats as he spares the life of Paul Rovia after the latter attempts to steal a van of supplies claimed by Daryl and Rick which leads them to finding the Hilltop Colony. His relationship with Michonne has also caused him to show his lighter side more often, as he is seen relaxed and happier than he was before they started their relationship.
Over the course of Season 6, Rick's confidence grows with every successful outcome and threat survived. He believes that not only are his people capable of dealing with any threat, but that the Alexandrians themselves now know what it takes to survive. Rick has shown that he has not lost his ruthlessness, as shown by his desire to exact revenge on the Saviors for threatening Daryl, Abraham and Sasha and kill them all in order to obtain much-needed supplies from the Hilltop Colony, and protect Alexandria, even though the Saviors have technically caused no harm to them. Rick now has a desire to destroy any potential threats before they even happen, showing that he will do just about anything to protect his people from danger (very similar to The Governor in the first half of Season 3, but on a more heroic scale). Rick has demonstrated that he's now indeed a cold-blooded killer as shown during their attack on the Savior outpost and his killing of Primo and Jiro. He also nearly kills an innocent survivor from the Kingdom, believing him to be a Savior hunting Carol, though Morgan stops him to his visible anger and claims regardless of who he was, he no longer takes chances, showing that he is willing to kill completely innocent survivors.
However, his overconfidence and eagerness to destroy the Saviors brings about serious consequences; while on a frantic journey to get a sick Maggie to the Hilltop, he and his group are tricked and ambushed by the Saviors and for the first time in the series, Rick shows extreme fear as he is confronted with an impossible situation over which he has no control. At the sight of his new enemy, Negan, Rick visibly trembles and appears to be almost numb with terror and is helpless as Negan personally selects a member of the group at random and beats them to death with a baseball bat in revenge for Rick's actions.
It is revealed that Negan had selected Abraham and preceded to beat him viciously to death with his baseball bat; Rick watches on in horror. Glenn is later killed as punishment for Daryl assaulting Negan moments after Abraham's execution. Rick, with Abraham's blood on his face, quietly threatens to kill Negan. Negan inquires to as to what Rick said and Rick is petrified to look at him but gains the courage to repeat his threat while looking him in the eye. Negan then takes Rick on a "trip" where he continuously mocks Rick for thinking of a prosperous future with his group whilst physically assaulting him. Unsatisfied Rick hasn't submitted to him, Negan returns Rick to his group and threatens that if he doesn't severe Carl's left arm his remaining group members will be executed. This pushes Rick to his absolute breaking point as he wails, cries, has mucus run out of his nose and even suggest he suffer the amputation. Just as Rick is about to cut off his son's arm, Negan becomes satisfied claiming the terror on Rick's face was the "exact look" he desired. Having been the first man to devolve Rick into a complete loss of power and control, Negan has revealed the extremity of Rick's emotions/actions of absolute fear and subjugation as he becomes horrified for the safety of his remaining group should he provoke Negan again. This fear was later subsided after the deaths of Spencer and Olivia, and finally regains his courage to fight Negan and the Saviors. He attempts to recruit the Hilltop and the Kingdom to help fight the Saviors with little success. Rick's desire to kill other survivors, aside from the Saviors, has subsided as well: this is most likely due to the fallout that came from his attack at the Saviors outpost. Once again, Rick has also shown a reluctance to lead, only wishing to lead Alexandria, not wishing to lead the joint communities once they take out the Saviors. Rick has demonstrated that he is no longer afraid of Negan as while he is once again at his mercy, he tells him that no matter what he does to him he will make it his mission to kill him and all the Saviors and that nothing will change that. This shows Rick will never be subservient to Negan again and will do whatever it takes to stop him, even at the cost of his own life to ensure a prosperous future for his family, group and allies.
During Season 8, Rick along with Ezekiel and Maggie have stepped up to lead their communities in a war against Negan and the Saviors. Rick is shown to have complete faith in the abilities of his soldiers and the Militia and claims that they will win the fight at all cost. Rick has displayed his intense ruthlessness and mercilessness again and is prepared to kill any Savior without hesitation as he single-handily slaughters numerous Saviors brutally. He is also shown to not be willing to take chances with strangers again as he chases a lone survivor named Siddiq away with his revolver, much to the anger of his son, but he justifies it by saying he could be a Savior. In spite of his willingness to kill the Saviors and his threat to Negan in the Season 7 finale, Rick appears to be focused more on just killing his nemesis Negan and ending the conflict without too much bloodshed as he personally offers Negan's lieutenants, including Simon and Eugene, a chance to surrender, while Rick promises he will kill Negan as he has promised him twice, though they all refuse. Throughout the war, Rick has shown remorse for some of his actions, notably killing the father of an infant in a Savior Outpost and also shock at some of his allies' desire for blood, notably Daryl who kills their old ally Morales, despite knowing him and Todd, who Rick promised not to harm, showing that Rick is not completely merciless. In spite of this, Rick is truly dedicated to free his allies from Negan and the Saviors at all cost and is willing to do whatever it takes, as seen when he recruits the Scavengers to help him fight in spite of their betrayal of him, showing that he is desperate to stop Negan. The war however has taken its toll on Rick and he has suffered one of the most personal losses he will ever face: his own son.
Carl's death absolutely devastates Rick and pushes him to his absolute breaking point. Following this he appears to be more determined then ever to kill Negan as he recklessly attempts to go after him alone and almost gets himself killed in the process. He is shown to still be somewhat hostile towards Siddiq and appears to hold a slight grudge against him due to his involvement in Carl's death as he rejects his words following the Saviors' assault on the Hilltop and is shown to be emotionally distant from others, even Michonne. Rick has displayed an even colder side as well as he refuses to allow Jadis to return to safety with him and Michonne after learning that the Saviors have massacred her people and shows no remorse for their deaths and blames her for the situation. He is shown to now want to destroy the Saviors entirely again as he mercilessly slaughters more Saviors during the attack on the Hilltop and after he and Morgan are kidnapped by a group of Savior prisoners fleeing from the Hilltop and with a herd approaching, Rick promises not to harm them though even after the Saviors attempt to help him and Morgan fight the Walkers and after one saves Rick from being bitten, the two betray them and brutally slaughter them and Rick even sadistically admits to one before he kills him that he lied all along. This situation shows that Rick is potentially developing into a bloodthirsty killer very similar to Morgan as both have lost their sons and are now venting their trauma and anger on hostile forces threatening them and their allies and also now sees no chance that the Saviors are capable of redemption and that they best be exterminated.
However, after betraying the Saviors that helped him, seeing what he had become and reading Carl's letter, Rick is reminded of who he once was and has a change of heart about how to deal with the Saviors. After defeating Negan by slicing his throat, instead of letting him die he asks Siddiq to save him, despite Maggie's protests. He also gives the remaining Saviors a chance to help him and the other communities in creating a new world together.
In Season 9, a year and a half after the war against Negan, Rick has adopted a more peaceful and democratic way of leadership and is seen as a heroic figure among some people. Despite his decision to spare Negan, he still tries to unite all the communities to accomplish Carl's vision of rebuilding a civilization for the future. In an effort to do this, he unites the communities in rebuilding a bridge that will serve as a connecting point between the communities's trade routes, however, despite his best intentions, several events unfold in the camp which leads to several people abandoning his project and breaking his dreams, to the point of making him cry in sadness.
In the end, Rick, seeing that the bridge supports a herd coming towards the communities, does what he considers is the right thing and in a selfless way, shoots at some dynamite, causing an explosion and destroying the bridge to save all his loved ones. Despite being rescued, Rick's presumed sacrifice is always remembered as the reason people followed his example and joined together to create a better future, and his legacy will always be carried on by his family and loved ones.
Rick grew up in Georgia, somewhere near Atlanta. As a child, he shared a close relationship with his father whom he described as a 'profound' man who instilled a strong moral code onto him. His mother often told him the story of ‘The Stone in The Road’, which encouraged him to never give up in the face of adversity.  He also became inspired by the old tales of his grandfather, whom served during the Second World War.
He grew up alongside his closest friend Shane Walsh, where the two developed a strong bond together to the point where the pair came to regard each other as 'brothers'. In high school, Rick acted as the more disciplined of the pair and thus experienced very few short-lived relationships with girls, in contrast to Shane whom had many conquests. Academically, Rick and Shane studied at college together for police administration where they eventually graduated and became employed deputies stationed at the King County Sheriff's Department, with Shane assigned as his partner.
As a young adult, Rick later met a woman named Lori, where the two eventually fell in love with each other and became married where together they had a son named Carl. The trio lived together as a typical family in a single-story house located in King County, Georgia, where Shane became a close friend of the family. Rick took memorable walks with his 3-year-old son around a local farm, where Carl became grateful for the safety and happiness his father provided him.
Over time however, Rick and Lori's marriage became increasingly strained due to Rick constantly distancing himself from her, as he generally hesitated to express his feeling regarding their marital issues and thus Rick instead opted to absorb himself through his work. This nature led to various cracks in their relationship, which resulted in harsh words directed from Lori, who once questioned whether Rick cared about his family in the presence of their son.
On a deserted Georgia highway, Rick drives his police cruiser past overturned and damaged cars scattered blocking the road, making him stop. He gets out and takes a gas can out of the trunk. He walks past the remains of more wrecked and abandoned cars down a hill towards a gas station. Various corpses and garbage are spread across the gas station, where a handmade sign hanging reads "NO GAS".
Rick searches around, when suddenly, he hears something and ducks down behind a car. He catches a glimpse of the slippered feet of a little girl on the other side of the car as she picks up a teddy bear on the ground. He stands up and sees the little girl walking away, so he walks closer to her. "Little girl", Rick keeps calling to her until she turns around to face him. Her lips and right cheek have been torn away, exposing raw teeth and muscle.
Rick's face falls as she starts walking towards him, growling. She approaches faster as he steps back, draws his Colt Python and shoots her in the head. As her body falls to the floor, Rick lowers his gun.
In a flashback, Rick and his partner and best friend, Shane Walsh are eating hamburgers and fries inside their police cruiser. They joke about the differences between men and women. When the conversation turns to Rick's wife, Lori, he turns somber. He says that they've been fighting lately, and says that Lori accused him that morning of not caring about his family in front of their son, Carl. "The difference between men and women?... I would never say something that cruel to her, especially not in front of Carl," Rick muses. Suddenly, the cruiser's radio cracks to life reporting a high-speed pursuit in progress involving two armed suspects.
Rick and Shane dump their food and rush to the scene. When they arrive, they lay down a spike strip and meet up with their co-workers, Lambert Kendal and Leon Basset. As they all wait for the car, Leon muses about their chances of getting on a police chase reality show. Rick tells him to focus, and worry about having a round in his gun chamber and the safety off. Leon sheepishly checks his gun while Shane suggests that it would be "kinda cool gettin' on one of them shows."
At that moment, the car approaches, pursued by two more cruisers containing the Linden County Sheriff's Department officers. The car, with the suspects inside, speeds over the spike strip, shredding the tires. The driver loses control of the wheel and the vehicle flips off the road, rolling several times before coming to a rough stop upside down in a field. "Holy shit," mutters Shane, cocking his shotgun as the officers descend on the vehicle.
Rick carefully approaches the overturned car. A man emerges from the vehicle and immediately starts shooting at the officers. Rick yells at him to drop his pistol, but the man shoots directly at Rick and hits him in the chest. Shane shoots the gunman, killing him as Rick falls to the ground.
A second man emerges from the vehicle brandishing a shotgun, but is also shot to death. "I'm alright!" Rick shouts, the gunman having shot his Kevlar bulletproof vest. Shane approaches Rick as he pulls himself off the ground."Shane, you do not tell Lori that happened! Ever!" Rick commands Shane as he looks at his vest.
Meanwhile, a third gunman unnoticed by everyone crawls out of the car and through the grass. The man fires his gun and hits Rick in the side, where his vest does not protect him. He falls to the ground bleeding as Shane shoots and kills the third man before rushing to Rick's aid. He begs for Rick to stay with him, barking at Leon to call an ambulance, but Rick remains motionless.
A while later, Shane delivers flowers to Rick in the hospital, but Rick isn't fully conscious while Shane starts talking to him. Two weeks later, Rick awakens and responds to Shane's presence. He discovers that Shane is no longer there. The flowers have wilted and died, the beeping of the machines have stopped as has the clock; the room is empty. Weak, dehydrated and alone, Rick pulls himself out of bed, flops onto the floor and calls out for a nurse to help, but no one comes.
After getting no response, he stumbles into the bathroom, guzzling water directly from the tap, while noticing a growing beard, before he heads for the door. He opens the door and notices a gurney is blocking the entrance to his room. He pushes it aside and continues walking in the dark and disheveled hallway.
The hallway's lights flicker and wires hang from the ceiling. He goes to the nurse's station and tries the phone, but it's dead. He finds a set of matches while also looking for anything else worth taking from behind the desk. Suddenly, a flickering light draws his attention, and through a doorway, Rick sees the ravaged body of a nurse missing most of her skin. His eyes can't believe what he's seeing and he backs away, confused and afraid. Continuing further down the hallway, he sees that the walls are covered in blood with numerous bullet holes. A double door leading into the cafeteria has been chained shut, a message scrawled across in black paint: "DON'T OPEN/DEAD INSIDE." A woman's hands, her fingernails dirty and broken, reach through the cracks and fiddle with the padlock and chains, moaning and groaning as more fingers start to reach through the cracks growling. Terrified, Rick stumbles backwards.
He tries the elevator but it's dead, so he exits through a heavy door into a dark stairwell that reeks of rotting flesh. He chokes on the smell as he lumbers down the stairs, lighting matches until he finds the exit. A door opens to the back of the hospital into the loading bay. When Rick's eyes adjust to the bright sunlight, he sees hundreds of decayed, fly-covered bodies wrapped in sheets and arranged in rows and piles. He leaves the hospital and stumbles up a hill. There's a military helicopter, sandbags, and other signs of a military cordon, but everything has been abandoned.
He wanders down the road in his hospital gown, spotting an overturned bicycle in a park. As he reaches for it, the badly decayed body of a mutilated woman, her legs and lips missing, turns and reaches for him, pathetically moaning and growling in. Startled, Rick falls off the bicycle but regains himself a moment later, mounts the bike, and hastily rides away.
Rick bikes over to his home to find the front door open and the house deserted. Sobbing on the floor, he calls out for Lori and Carl, questioning if any of this is real or if he's dreaming. He heads back outside the house and sits on the steps. He spots a a man stumbling down the road and waves his hand to try and get his attention. As he is doing this, a young boy creeps up from behind and hits him with a shovel. "Carl, I found you," Rick mutters. "Daddy I got this sumbitch! I'm gonna smack him dead!" the boy screams. The boy's father, Morgan Jones, approaches the stumbling man Rick was waving to and shoots him in the head. He then proceeds to walk towards Rick and points a revolver in his face. "What's that bandage for? You tell me, or I will kill you," Morgan asks him, cocking the gun at his face. Before he can answer, Rick passes out.
Later that night, Rick wakes up with his arms and legs tied to a bed. The young boy, Duane, stands guard with a baseball bat. "Did you get bit?" Morgan asks Rick stiffly, having changed his bandages though Rick's gunshot wound that has mostly healed. "Just shot, as far as I know," Rick says. Morgan checks his forehead and says if he had "the fever" it would have killed him by now, so he sets him free of the bedposts with a switchblade, but not before telling him that if he tries anything, he will not hesitate to kill him. He then offers him a seat at their dinner table.
Rick recognizes the home that they are in as his neighbors', Fred and Cindy Drake's house. Morgan tells Rick not to look out the window because they will see the light. He then begins to explain the story of the outbreak and the following days to a confused and disoriented Rick. "I never should have fired that gun today. The sound draws 'em. Now they're all over the street." Rick accuses Morgan of shooting a man in cold blood. "It was a walker," Morgan corrects. He adds that they get more active after dark sometimes.
Before they begin eating dinner, Duane insists that his father give a blessing. "Lord, please watch over us in these crazy days," Morgan says, and proceeds to explain to Rick that the man he shot would have tried to eat them. "One thing I do know, don't you get bit. Bites kill. The fever burns you out. But then after a while... You come back." Morgan explains. "Seen it happen," Duane adds solemnly.
After dinner, the trio talks about Rick's son, Carl, and Rick satisfies a lingering curiosity shared by Duane and Morgan as to what line of work would put someone in a position to be shot at. "Sheriff's deputy," Rick remarks. Morgan smiles and says, "Duane thought you were a bank robber." Suddenly, a car alarm starts to go off outside and the trio turns off the lights.
Rick and Morgan peer out to the street through heavy covered windows and boarded up doors. The street is filled with walkers, drawn by the noise of the alarm. When a woman wearing a nightgown appears and walks up to the front door of the house, Duane runs away crying. Morgan comforts his son while Rick stares at the woman through the peephole at the front door. The woman looks around and tries to turn the door handle. "She died in the other room on that bed. I should have put her down. I just didn't have it in me. She's the mother of my child." Morgan confesses with sorrow.
The next morning, Rick walks outside in a face shield, carrying a baseball bat. "We're sure they're dead? I have to ask," says Rick, approaching a walker sitting near the stoop. "They're dead. Except for something in the brain. That's why it's gotta be the head," Morgan assures him, exiting the house with Duane.
Rick approaches the walker and swings the bat repeatedly at his head, beating it down until it stops moving. He quickly becomes fatigued, most likely from his still-healing gunshot wound.
Back at the house, Rick tells Morgan he thinks his wife and son are still alive. He explains he found empty drawers in the bedrooms and the family pictures and photo albums were gone. "Photo albums. My wife, same thing. There I am packing survival gear; she's grabbing photo albums," Morgan laughs, getting emotional over the memory. Duane suggests to Rick that they could be in Atlanta. Morgan explains that the government was telling people to head to a refugee center there with military protection and food, before the broadcasts stopped. He also explains that the C.D.C. is rumored to be working on a cure.
Rick, Morgan and Duane head to the King County Sheriff's Department, where they luxuriate in hot showers thanks to a separate propane heating system. As they dress, Morgan tells Rick that his family was headed to Atlanta but he and his son never made it because they got "stuck" after his wife got bit, and after she died they just stayed hunkered down at the Drake's home. Afterward, Rick packs a duffel bag with guns and changes into his sheriff's uniform and hat. He hands Morgan a rifle and some ammunition.
They head outside and start loading the weapons into the trunk of his cruiser. Rick prepares to set off for Atlanta, while Morgan says he'll follow in a few days, once Duane has learned to shoot. Rick hands Morgan a walkie-talkie and he tells him to turn it on every day at dawn to make contact. Before leaving, Morgan gives Rick a warning: "They may not seem like much one at a time. But in a group, all riled up and hungry? Man, you watch your ass." However, the farewell is interrupted when Rick spots a reanimated Leon who claws at the chain link fence separating them. Rick admits he didn't think much of the young officer, but he won't leave him like this. He shoots him in the forehead with his revolver, putting him down. Then, he and Morgan drive away from the sheriff's department in opposite directions.
Rick returns to the park where he found the legless walker. He follows a blood trail for quite a distance to find her again crawling helplessly. She reaches for him futilely. "I'm sorry this happened to you," Rick says, shooting her in the head with his revolver and putting her out of her misery.
Later, en route to Atlanta on Highway 85, Rick sends out a broadcast on his cruiser's CB radio. In a camp outside the city, a group of survivors receives the transmission. A young blonde girl, Amy, runs to the CB, but can't get a reply. Shane, Lori, and Carl are among the survivors, however, they don't recognize Rick's voice over the garbled transmission. By the time Shane takes over the CB controls and introduces himself, Rick has left the emergency broadcast channel.
On the road, Rick's cruiser runs out of fuel, so he abandons his car on the highway and heads out on foot with a gas can and the duffel bag full of guns, making sure to grab the family photo he keeps above his rear-view mirror and stashing it in his jacket pocket. He approaches a farmhouse looking for gas. He peeks in the window where he makes the grisly discovery that a couple had committed suicide. "GOD FORGIVE US" is written in blood on the wall. Rick tries to locate the keys of the pick-up truck parked in their driveway, but finds a horse on their property instead. He saddles up and rides the rest of the way to Atlanta with the bag of guns slung across his shoulder.
Rick arrives to Atlanta, but realizes it's nothing like Morgan described. Hundreds of cars trying to leave the city have burned out on the other side of the freeway. The road into the city is completely deserted. He continues to ride into the city, devastated that he has no other leads on where his wife and son are located. He trots the streets on horseback, finding an overrun military blockade with more burned out vehicles. A few walkers along the way take notice of him, so he and the horse speed up. He looks back to see many more emerging from buses and alleys.
Suddenly, Rick catches the reflection of a helicopter passing by through a skyscraper. He speeds up the horse to try and follow it but unknowingly leads himself into a horde of hundreds of walkers. He fails to escape and topples off to the floor as the walkers start to devour the horse. While the walkers are distracted, he manages to scramble underneath an abandoned tank. Walkers take notice of him and start to reach under and grab him from both ends of the tank. He shoots several of them, but more and more keep coming. In desperation, he places the gun to his head. "Lori, Carl, I'm sorry," he states. As he is about to pull the trigger, he sees an open hatch on the floor of the tank and crawls inside just before the walkers can get to him.
As he sits in the tank catching his breath, he takes the gun of a zombified soldier and continues to search through his uniform for anything of use. The movement awakens him and as he turns to bite Rick, he freaks and shoots him in the head. A deafening echo reverberates inside the enclosed space of the tank. Dazed and disoriented, he makes his way to the top of the tank where the top hatch is open. He lifts his head out of the hatch to stop the ringing in his ears. He spots the bag of guns that he dropped, but there are too many walkers. They begin to take notice of him and climb the tank to get to him. Rick then closes the hatch, sealing himself inside.
Rick, unsure of what to do next, holds the soldier's Beretta pistol to his forehead, sweating. Suddenly, the tank's radio crackles. "Hey. Hey you, dumbass. You in the tank. Cozy in there?" a voice says. Rick looks up and slowly lowers the gun from his forehead.
In Atlanta, sealed inside a military tank, Rick says over the CB radio: "Whoever you are, I don't mind telling you I'm a little concerned in here." A young man's voice replies that Rick is surrounded by walkers and advises him to make a run for it while they're distracted and busy eating his horse. Rick collects a grenade from the dead soldier and a shovel from the floor of the tank. He pops through the top hatch and dispatches a walker with his shovel, jumps off of the tank, and runs down a nearby sidewalk toward an alleyway, shooting walkers along the way. He turns around a corner and is surprised by Glenn, who reveals himself to be the one talking to him earlier over the tank radio. They race up a ladder to the roof, stopping to catch their breath on a platform halfway up. Glenn introduces himself and Rick thanks him for saving his life.
While they walk across the roof, Rick asks Glenn why he stuck his neck out for him back there, to which Glenn replies, "Call it foolish, naive hope that if I'm ever that far up shit creek, somebody would do the same for me. Guess that makes me an even bigger dumbass than you," leaving him in thought. Glenn leads Rick down a staircase to an alley, which is free of all but four walkers thanks to a bus blockade. Glenn radios his group, prompting T-Dog and Morales, wearing riot gear and brandishing baseball bats, to emerge from the building and beat down the walkers. Rick and Glenn rush into the building, followed by them.
Inside the store, Andrea points a gun in Rick's face, furious at his recklessness. "We're dead because of you," she tells him. Morales informs Rick that his gunshots have attracted numerous hordes of walkers. "You just rang the dinner bell," Andrea seethes, as the group's attention turns to a crowd of walkers outside that are slamming themselves against the the store’s front doors, furiously trying to gain entry. The group questions Rick about what he was doing roaming around the streets. Rick tries to explain he was trying to flag down a helicopter. Jacqui suggests that it was just a hallucination. "I saw it," he insists forcefully. T-Dog tries to make radio contact with another unknown group, but fails to get a signal, wondering if they might have better luck on higher ground. Suddenly, muffled gunshots are heard. "Oh god, is that Dixon?" Andrea says in disbelief, as they all leave to investigate.
On the roof, Rick and the group find Merle firing at walkers with a rifle. T-Dog chastises him for wasting bullets and attracting more walkers. Merle scoffs at him by saying he'd never take orders from a "n*gger," which sets off a fight between the two. Merle beats T-Dog and presses a handgun to his forehead, but Rick intervenes, hitting Merle with the butt of the rifle and handcuffing him to a pipe. "Things are different now. There's us and the dead. We survive this by pulling together, not apart." Rick tells Merle as he holds a gun to his head. He then finds a stash of cocaine in Merle's shirt pocket and tosses it over the roof, much to Merle's chagrin.
Morales informs Rick there's no refugee center and that they are part of a larger group of survivors staying outside the city, but T-Dog can't reach them on the radio. "We're on our own," Rick says. With the streets no longer safe, Rick suggests they try to escape underground. Jacqui, who formerly worked in the Atlanta zoning office, says that the building might have access to the sewers, prompting Rick and the group to head back downstairs to the basement. In the basement, Glenn concocts a plan and sends Rick and Andrea to watch the storefront while he and Morales head down the sewer.
On the front of the store, Rick and Andrea keep watch. "Sorry for the gun in your face," she says to Rick, who claims he's helping the group escape to earn their trust and understands what Andrea did, but he tells her: "Next time, take the safety off." She says her gun was a gift and she doesn't know how to use one. "We may have occasion to use it," Rick tells her. A while later, Andrea spots a necklace with a mermaid pendant. Rick encourages her to take it, insisting shoplifting rules don't apply anymore. Andrea pockets the necklace, when the walkers break through the exterior glass doors and begin pounding on the interior set. Glenn, Morales, and Jacqui arrive to report that the sewer is not an option. Rick and the group heads to the roof.
On the roof, Rick spots a cube van at a nearby construction site. The group discusses the difficulty of moving past the walkers undetected. "They smell dead. We don't. It's pretty distinct." Andrea says. Rick latches onto the concept of scent and how the dead use it to differentiate between themselves and the living. A while later, Rick and Morales collect a dead walker from the alley. Inside, Rick acknowledges the walker's lost humanity and then begins hacking the dead body to pieces with an axe. Rick and Glenn then smear guts on themselves, disgusting everyone. Before leaving, Rick tosses T-Dog the key to Merle's handcuffs.
Outside, Rick and Glenn crawl under the bus blocking the alley. They start to shuffle in to the streets, mixing in to the crowd of walkers unnoticed. Suddenly, a rainstorm passes over them, washing the guts off their jackets. The walkers detect them as humans, prompting Rick and Glenn to fight them while continuing to run to the construction site. They are able to make it over the fence uninjured. Rick shoots at walkers while Glenn locates the keys. The crowd of walkers knocks down the fence and charges at them, but they speed away in the van just in time. Rick orders Glenn to radio the group to get ready for pick-up, and mentions that they will need a way to lure the walkers away from the department store, eyeing a red Dodge Challenger sports car. Rick smashes the driver's side window to gain entry, causing the car's alarm to blare loudly.
Rick pulls the van up and the group piles in, catching their breath as they drive away from the city. They look around at one another and a guilt-ridden T-Dog admits to the others he dropped the key, leaving Merle trapped on the roof, still handcuffed to a pipe. Andrea then asks Rick, "Where's Glenn?"
On the road, Morales advises Rick not to dwell on Merle's abandonment. When the van arrives at the camp, the group embraces with their families while Rick hesitantly stays in the car for a few moments. He later emerges and recognizes Shane. The two trade stunned glances as Carl spots Rick and runs into his open arms. Lori stares at Rick, but she tearfully embraces her husband and son. Rick turns to smile at Shane, who does manage an honest smile in return.
In the night, around a campfire, Rick describes the disorientation he felt waking up alone in the hospital. Lori explains she was told Rick would be brought over to Atlanta, but it never happened. "Mom said you died," Carl comments. "She had every reason to believe that," Rick replies. He then expresses immense gratitude to Shane for saving and taking care of his family. He then volunteers to deliver the news to Daryl Dixon about his brother, as does T-Dog, who is wracked with guilt for dropping the key.
Later on, in their tent, Rick says goodnight to Carl and then takes Lori's hand as he crawls into bed with her. He tells her he knew she and Carl were alive because their photo albums were gone when he returned to their house. Lori smiles and pulls one open. "I told you so," says Rick, and Lori jokingly accuses him of getting cocky as he grabs for the family photo in his jacket pocket. They reflect on their past mistakes and are grateful for the second chance that they have been given. "Not many people get that," Rick says. Lori returns Rick's wedding ring, which had been removed when he was in the hospital, and the two discretely have sex.
The next morning, Rick wakes to find a fresh pair of clothes laid out for him inside the tent. He gets up and gets dressed. Outside, he finds Carol ironing his freshly laundered uniform, though she laments how much harder it is without her old Maytag. Rick thanks her for her kindness. Nearby, Glenn mourns as Morales, Dale, and Jim strip the Challenger down for parts, taking gas for the camp's generators. "Maybe we'll get to steal another one someday," Rick says to comfort him, patting him on the back.
Rick then tells Lori he keeps thinking about leaving Merle behind and he plans to return to Atlanta. Lori is shocked, but their discussion is interrupted by screams. Carl, Sophia, and Jacqui, who had been out walking, run in to camp deeply shaken. Sophia calls out for her mother and the men grab various weapons from the campsite.
Rick, Shane, Jim, Morales, and Glenn run past them to a clearing where a walker is devouring a deer with crossbow bolts sticking out of it. The five men beat on the walker until Dale arrives and decapitates it. The group hears the bushes rustling and Shane raises his gun protectively. Daryl emerges from the woods carrying a crossbow and hauling over a dozen dead squirrels. He's upset that the walker ate the deer he'd been tracking for miles, and the food has been wasted. The walker's decapitated head starts grinding it's teeth, growling. Daryl fires his crossbow in to its skull. "Come on people, what the hell? It's gotta be the brain. Don't y'all know nothin'?" he rebukes, before heading into camp looking for Merle.
Shane follows, telling Daryl that Merle didn't make it back. Rick chimes in, confessing he left Merle handcuffed to the roof as the group surrounds them. Daryl throws the dead squirrels at Rick who ducks as Shane throws him backwards. T-Dog sees Daryl pull a knife and warns Rick and Shane, joining the scuffle. Rick is able to disarm Daryl, and Shane locks him in a sleeper hold. "Choke holdin's illegal!" Daryl argues breathlessly. Rick tells Daryl he wants to have a calm discussion about Merle. "Your brother does not work and play well with others," Rick tells him, which Daryl seems to understand already. T-Dog cuts in, explaining that he accidentally dropped the key in a drain. He adds that he chained the door to the roof shut so the undead couldn't get to him. "Just tell me where he is, so I can go get him," Daryl orders. Lori then states that Rick is going back to Merle.
Later, Rick prepares to leave with Daryl, Glenn, and T-Dog. Shane questions his decision to risk his life for Merle and argues that they need everybody to protect the camp in case more walkers show up. However, Rick contends they need more guns, which he'd be able to retrieve from the bag he dropped outside the tank. He also explains to Lori that he needs to collect his walkie-talkie from the bag so he can warn Morgan away from the city, claiming he owes them his life. Shane then gives Rick the last of his bullets for his revolver. Rick loads his gun in the passenger seat while Daryl drives out of camp and the group leave the campsite.
In Atlanta, the group parks beside a railroad line. Daryl threatens T-Dog if Merle's not okay, but T-Dog insists that the undead can't get through the chains on the door. As they travel on foot below a highway overpass, Glenn decides the group should go for Merle first, because going for the guns would mean doubling back.
Rick, Daryl, Glenn, and T-Dog arrive at the department store. Daryl kills a walker in the store with his crossbow. They cut through the chain on the stairwell with the bolt-cutters and emerge onto the roof. On the ground, the hacksaw sits beside Merle's severed hand with the bloodied handcuffs hanging from the pipe above. Daryl screams as the others look on helplessly.
An enraged Daryl points his crossbow at T-Dog, but relents when Rick pulls his revolver. They then follow Merle's trail of blood to a kitchen, where Sterno cans burn next to an iron steak weight crusted with skin—the result of Merle cauterizing his stump. Rick agrees to help Daryl search the streets for his brother. "Only if we get those guns first," T-Dog says. Glenn outlines a plan to retrieve Rick's bag: Daryl will watch his back from the store's alley, while Rick and T-Dog cover a second alley two blocks away.
On the street, Glenn runs toward the tank. Back in the alley, a teenager named Miguel approaches Daryl. Daryl trains his crossbow on Miguel, who begins screaming. Glenn grabs the bag of guns — and Rick's hat — then runs back toward Daryl. Rick and T-Dog, hearing Miguel's screams, also head for the alley. Two men named Jorge and Felipe, who have also come for the guns, then jump Daryl. The men turn to Glenn and start beating him. Daryl then fires an arrow in Felipe's butt. They throw Glenn in a car and drive off—leaving Miguel and the guns behind. Rick then takes Miguel and asks him about the men that he was with, Miguel refuses to speak to Rick. Daryl tries to tell Miguel that his brother's hand was a result of "the last guy who pissed him off" and throws the hand on Miguel as he starts to panic. Daryl then threatens to cut off his feet by telling he is "going to start with the feet this time." Rick fends Daryl off and asks Miguel that all he wants to do is work something out with his gang. Later on Miguel leads Rick, Daryl and T-Dog to an abandoned factory, where the leader of the group called "G" emerges. Rick proposes trading Miguel for Glenn. G demands the bag of guns, threatening to kill Glenn if they do not hand it over.
Rick then escorts Miguel into the warehouse carrying the guns on his back. Rick cuts Miguel loose and demands G hand over Glenn. Felipe and Miguel's grandmother shuffles into the middle of the stand-off, asking Felipe for help with "Mr. Gilbert." She notices Rick's uniform and begs him not to take Felipe away. Rick tells Felipe's grandmother that Felipe is helping him find a missing person. Abuela leads Rick into a nursing home auditorium, where several elderly people—and Glenn—are grouped around an asthmatic man. Felipe helps the man with an inhaler.
After giving them a few rifles, Rick, Glenn, T-Dog, and Daryl walk back to the cube van, but find it missing. Back at the RV, a walker tears into Amy's neck. Rick, Glenn, Daryl, and T-Dog arrive and quickly shoot the remaining walkers.
Rick stares at a sunrise over Atlanta as he tries to reach Morgan on the walkie-talkie, discussing what has happened to him ever since they departed from one another. Rick, Lori, and Shane discuss how to handle Andrea as she continues to cradle Amy’s body. Rick tries to approach Andrea but she pulls a gun on him. Around the same time, Jim reveals his bite wound to the group. Rick thinks the CDC might be able to help Jim, and suggests relocating there. Shane, however, thinks the army base in Fort Benning — 125 miles in the opposite direction — is a safer bet. Daryl heads toward Jim with his pickaxe and tries to take a swing. Rick points his gun at Daryl's head and prevents him from taking action. Rick and Shane later dig graves near the campsite. A deeply frustrated Shane reminds Rick that he and the others who accompanied him to Atlanta to find Merle should have stayed so they wouldn't have lost so many people. Rick counters that without the guns he brought back, the losses might have been worse.
The survivors stage a funeral. Privately, Rick asks Lori if she blames him for not being there when the camp was attacked, and to support his decision to head for the CDC. She does not blame him exactly—not like Shane does—but she does not know if she can follow him to the CDC on blind faith. In the RV, Rick tells a feverish Jim they are going to get him help, but Jim is delirious. Outside, Shane asks Lori to convince Rick the CDC is a bad decision, cautioning her about choosing her marriage over peoples' safety. When Rick emerges, Lori announces that they should follow Rick's plan.
Rick, Shane and Dale depart to sweep the forest for walkers. Alone, Shane tries to convince Rick to change his mind. He's outraged when Rick appears to show a lack of compassion and gratitude for all he's done over the past few days, and for a brief few moments, aims his gun at Rick who's wandered off into the woods. Glaring, he drops the gun, and then notices Dale watching him. "Jesus," whispers Dale. Back at camp, Shane announces that he thinks they should trust Rick's instincts and those that agree would be leaving for the CDC in the morning. At dawn, Rick tries to reach Morgan to advise him of their plan. En route to the CDC, the RV's radiator hose bursts. While Shane and T-Dog drive ahead to find a replacement, Rick checks on Jim, who is in agony. They say their goodbyes and leave him to die next to a tree at his request.
Rick's caravan approaches the CDC, where hundreds of bodies lay dead on the ground. The group quietly approaches the building, which is locked and shuttered. As night time approaches the group begins to panic and Lori says that they can't be that close to the city after dark as walkers begin to rise. Rick catches sight of the security camera's movement but Dale thinks he "imagined it" and slams on the shutters, screaming for help as Shane drags him away. The shutters open at the last minute and drown everyone in light.
In a flashback to the early days of the outbreak while Rick is still in the coma, the hospital is getting overrun and doctors are seen fleeing in terror or getting executed by the military, leaving Shane by himself with Rick. Shane tries to get Rick to wake up but a nearby explosion causes a power-outage and Rick's life-support machines die. Shane is forced to run but, holding out on hope that his friend might still wake, he barricades the door with a gurney before fleeing, indirectly saving his life.
In the present, Rick and the other survivors file into the CDC lobby as Dr. Edwin Jenner meets them at the door. Jenner agrees to allow them in — provided they all submit to a blood test. Rick agrees, and they follow Jenner to the building's basement control center. Later, the group feasts in the CDC cafeteria, jovially drinking wine and liquor, jubilant about finding a safe place. Jenner shows the group around the building, directing the children toward the recreation room and imploring everyone not to waste electricity. Rick stumbles drunkenly into the control room, where Jenner is working. Rick thanks Jenner again. He admits to Jenner that he never let on to the others what he really thought, but he knew they were running out of options. Rick stumbles into bed with Lori and sees that she is been crying. He assures her she doesn't need to be afraid.
The next morning, when Jenner arrives, he leads the group to the control center, where he displays brain scans from "Test Subject 19," who was infected and allowed the process to be recorded. Jenner admits he does not know what the disease is or how to treat it, and that he's lost contact with other facilities. Rick, Shane, T-Dog, and Glenn head to inspect the generators while upstairs, the building's air cuts off. In his office, Jenner stares at a photograph of a woman, asking her to understand that he did the best he could and hopes she would be proud of him. The panicked survivors confront Jenner, who explains the building is shutting itself down.
When the building runs out of power it will self-destruct — a "decontamination" protocol to keep dangerous infectious diseases from escaping. Jenner tries to convince Rick to accept his fate. Rick demands to know why Jenner stayed if he did not think there was any hope. "I made a promise," Jenner says, to his wife — Test Subject 19 — to keep going as long as he could. She was one of the finest scientists in the world; if anyone could have done something about this, it was she. Jenner eventually opens the door, but maintains that they still won't be able to get past the lock-down upstairs. He shakes Rick's hand, pulls him close, and whispers into Rick's ear.
In the CDC lobby, the group finds the doors locked and pounds helplessly on the windows. Carol pulls the hand grenade that Rick found in the tank in Atlanta from her bag. Rick detonates the grenade, blasting out one of the glass windows. The survivors run to the cars. From inside the RV, Lori sees Dale and Andrea emerge from the building. Jenner and Jacqui hold hands and watch the others evacuate on the security monitor. The CDC erupts in a fiery explosion. Dale and Andrea rush to the RV. Shaken, Rick starts the engine, and the caravan drives away from the smoldering rubble.
Rick stands atop a roof in Atlanta, addressing Morgan through his radio, though Morgan appears not to be present. Nevertheless, Rick says that Atlanta isn't safe anymore, and that the CDC was a dead end, as if Morgan is really there. He is about to mention what Jenner told him just as they were leaving the CDC, but decides against it, instead saying that the group is heading toward Fort Benning. The group finally leaves Atlanta, commencing on a new journey. As they continue south of Atlanta, they come across a large sum of parked and crashed cars, which ultimately blocks their path. They attempt to navigate through the maze of vehicles, but soon the radiator in the RV blows out. The group decides to search the nearby cars for another radiator they could use, as well as any other useful supplies.
Rick and Dale keep watch. Dale notices a walker hobbling about, and Rick recognizes it as well. He's about to shoot it before realizing that the walker is in fact part of a much larger herd heading their way. Rick silently orders the group to hide under the cars. Rick watches as Lori comforts a frantic Carol, her daughter Sophia alone and hiding under a different car. After the herd passes, Sophia, thinking it's safe, comes out from under the car, but fails to notice two walkers nearby. Rick watches helplessly as the walkers see her and chase her into the nearby forest. After reassuring Carol that he will get her daughter back, he runs after Sophia. Once he reaches her, he guides her to a tree hanging low over the riverbank and tells her to hide under it, "If I don't come back, head back to the highway the same way we came. Keep the sun on your left shoulder." Rick guides the walkers a safe distance away before taking care of them with a boulder. Afterward, Rick returns to the highway, expecting to find Sophia, but he instead discovers that she still hadn't returned, and is forced to confront a distraught Carol.
Rick, Shane, Daryl and Glenn return to the riverbank to investigate. After finding nothing, Shane and Glenn head back as Rick and Daryl continue on. They eventually come upon a walker, and after killing it, Daryl notices that it had fed recently. They two reluctantly open it up as insurance, and Daryl identifies the walker's recent meal to be a woodchuck, much to the pair's relief. They return to the highway by sunset, and Carol reprimands Rick for leaving her daughter alone in the woods. The next day, the group as a whole go tracking Sophia once more. They find a tent in the middle of the forest, but no signs of Sophia anywhere near it. It's then that they hear a bell toll nearby, and upon following the sound, they find themselves at a church. Sophia appears not to be there either, as the bell is in fact an audio loop on a timer.
The group waits at the church as Carol prays for her daughter, but as it starts to get late, they are forced to head back to the highway. Rick, however, isn't ready to give up, so he and Shane stay behind as the rest go on ahead. Before leaving, Carl asks to stay with Rick, and Lori and Rick agree to let him. Before the trio sets out, Rick approaches the crucified figure of Jesus and admits that, although he isn't a believer, he could use any help possible in finding Sophia. After leaving, the group comes across a lone buck. Shane is about to shoot it, but stops as Rick points out Carl curiously approaching it. Suddenly, a gunshot fills the air as a bullet travels straight through the deer, finding it's way into Carl's abdomen. Rick and Shane run to him as he falls to the ground.
After discovering who shot Carl, a man named Otis, the three take Carl to a nearby farm in which Otis says a man named Hershel Greene can help. Rick pitifully carries an unconscious Carl as he runs, and once at the farm, Hershel and his daughters help get Carl onto a bed so they can start to treat him. As they do so, Shane assures Rick that it isn't his fault, and that Carl will be fine, just like he was when he was shot. Maggie, Hershel's eldest daughter, informs Rick that he will need to donate blood to Carl, for they are both the same blood type. As his blood is drawn, Hershel begins surgery on Carl, and the painful screams of his child upsets Rick. Afterward, Hershel announced that he isn't finished, and to do so without inflicting harm, he needs specific medical supplies that they don't have. They conclude that the best place to find such supplies is a nearby high school-turned-FEMA camp. Otis volunteers to go, feeling guilty for shooting Rick's child, and Shane decides to go with. Maggie volunteers to get Lori, as she has a right to know what happened to her son.
Later on, Rick admires Hershel's farm and talks with Hershel about a potential cure for the outbreak when Maggie returns to the farm with Lori. Once she sees her bedridden son, Lori breaks into tears. Rick does another transfusion and after assuring the couple that Carl will be fine after Shane and Otis get back, Hershel admits to Rick and Lori that he is a veterinarian. Lori doesn't seem pleased with this, but Rick reminds her that he's the only option they have. It's soon that they start worry that Shane and Otis haven't returned, and Hershel reveals that if they don't arrive soon, he will have to resume surgery without anesthetic and the necessary equipment.
By the evening, Rick and Lori meet with Glenn and T-Dog as they arrive at the farm, they give their regards to Carl. Having a discussion with Lori about their situation, Lori wonders whether Carl should even live, saying that it's better for him to leave this world instead of watching more people die, while Rick becomes deeply upset and wants a future for his son. They are happy when Carl finally awakens but soon goes into a seizure and their fear returns. Hershel gives them an ultimatum, Carl doesn't have more time left and they need to perform the surgery urgently. Shane miraculously returns with the supplies needed in time, but Otis didn't make it back. Rick is very grateful, unaware of Shane's lies about what truly happened to Otis. Hershel is able to perform the surgery and Carl is finally safe. After the moment of relief, Rick and Hershel comforts Patricia, Otis' wife, as Shane watches them from the hallway.
Rick sits by Carl, and Carl wakes up, only to ask about Sophia. Rick tells him she's okay, even though she still is missing. Maggie shows Rick and Shane a map of the area, and Rick is happy that they finally can organize the search for Sophia. Hershel tells Rick that he donated too much blood for Carl and needs to rest, Shane also can't go around for too long since he is injured from his trip for the medical supplies. They decide to wait a day before going back to the search. Hershel and Rick are talking later on, and Hershel says he expects the Atlanta Survivors will leave once Carl is in fit condition and they find Sophia. Later on, Rick and Hershel are seen once again, having a discussion as to whether Hershel will reconsider. Hershel also reassures Rick that he is a commendable father after Rick confesses to having lied to Carl. Rick is at Carl's side at the end of the day again as he awakens, and they share some conversation. Rick reveals that he lied about Sophia being okay, and Carl forgives him. Carl jokes about being happy that he and Rick have been shot. Rick gives him his sheriff hat and tells him to rest some more as Lori walks in. They hug briefly before Lori leaves the room. Rick puts away his police uniform and badges then takes off his clothes before laying down with Carl.
Rick is seen continuing the search for Sophia, laying out a map of the terrain and setting the group up in parties to go and continue looking for her. Jimmy approaches Rick and tells him that he wants to help and claimed that Hershel said it was okay for him to do so. He also allows Daryl to borrow one of Hershel's horses to help cover more ground to look for Sophia. Later, he and Shane are seen continuing searching the woods for her while discussing their old high school days and girls they liked. Shane then changes the subject and says that they are wasting time trying to look for Sophia since it's been several days since she was first originally lost and as a police officer, after 72 hours, the case gets colder (less likely to find the missing person). Rick and Shane head back to the farm where Rick asks Lori if Shane is correct in stopping the search. Lori convinces Rick otherwise comparing Sophia to if it were Carl that was missing and Rick decides to keep on searching, however, he is approached by Beth Greene, she says that Hershel wants to talk to him.
Rick talks to Hershel, who complains about Rick taking the young Jimmy out in the woods and also taking one of his horses without his permission, they agreed that Rick needs to control his people while Hershel controls his since Rick and his group won't be staying at the farm for very long anymore. Later, Andrea spots a walker approaching the farm and everyone is alerted and prepared to go kill it, when in fact they discover it was Daryl, covered in mud and blood after an accident with Hershel's horse; Andrea didn't notice it was him though, and shoots him anyway, grazing Daryl with a bullet. Rick and Shane helps Daryl back to the house and gets him medical attention from Hershel. Daryl reveals that he found Sophia's doll by the river, giving Rick even more hope of finding Sophia. After he joins everyone for a well prepared meal and has a quiet and awkward dinner with both his group and Hershel's group of people.
Rick and Shane both continue to plan for the search for Sophia as he allows the training of the Atlanta survivors and Hershel's people with the usage of guns and weapons. He and Lori decide that Carl should begin to learn how to shoot now and joins everyone with practice. Lori later confronts Rick about how Hershel still wants everyone to leave the farm soon and begs him to get Hershel to change his mind. Later, Rick finds abortion pills in his tent, fearing for the worst, he goes in search of Lori and finds her by the dirt road. The two have another argument after Rick finds out that Lori is pregnant and how she tried to get it aborted. They argue and Rick tries to convince her that the baby is worth keeping and knows about her relationship with Shane, but he forgives her since at the time she thought he was dead.
During breakfast, Rick and the group finds out from Glenn that there are walkers locked in the barn. Rick is concerned about their safety, he wants to talk to Hershel about this, but Shane suggests that they open the barn and kill every single walker. After calming everyone down, Rick convinces the group to wait for him to negotiate with Hershel. Rick talks to Hershel about the barn and the possibility about having his group stay at the farm, during the conversation, Hershel says that he is not changing his mind about Rick leaving the farm, Rick responds that Lori is pregnant and they can't leave the farm, Hershel needs to reconsider. After leaving the house, Rick notices Shane inspecting the barn and tries to tell him that they just need more time to make a decision but Shane is insistent on either they clear out the barn to stay or let it be and leave the farm. Later, Rick and Andrea plan yet another search for Sophia when they are interrupted by Hershel when he asks for Rick's help with something.
While walking into the forest, with Hershel and Jimmy, Hershel says that if Rick and his group intend to stay, they have to handle walkers in his special way which is to trap and escort them back to the barn at the farm. Two walkers are stuck in the mud and Rick agrees and helps escort the two walkers back to the farm. As they approach the barn, Shane (who was giving the group weapons against Hershel's rules and preparing to kill the walkers in the barn) spots them, he explodes with anger and frustration and shoots the walker that Hershel is holding. Rick can't stop Shane because he is holding another walker, Shane opens the barn and release the walkers inside. The Atlanta group get in line with him to kill all the walkers as they pour out from the barn, Shane shoots the walker Rick is holding in the process.
As the Greene family watches in horror, a last walker leaves the barn, and it's the reanimated Sophia. Everyone is shocked and saddened until Rick realizes what has to be done; he gets his gun, points it at Sophia's head and pulls the trigger.
After the barn massacre, Shane starts yelling at Hershel, blaming him about Sophia, Rick tries to stop him. Hershel tells the group to leave the farm immediately. Rick then becomes angry at Shane, because Rick had been handling the situation well before Shane ruined it, Shane calls Rick delusional and storms off. The group decides to bury Sophia, Annette Greene and Shawn Greene and burn the other walkers. Rick is disappointed since he got the group in danger looking for Sophia while she was inside the barn all the time. Everyone, except Carol, attends to the funeral of Sophia, Annette and Shawn. Later, after Beth goes into shock, the group discovers that Hershel is gone and finding his flask in his bedroom, Maggie suggests that he is at a local bar in town, Rick and Glenn decide to look for him. Rick has a conversation with Glenn about his romance with Maggie, telling him not to be afraid of telling her how much he likes her. As the night falls, they arrive at the town and find that Hershel is indeed drinking at the bar.
Rick tries to convince Hershel to go back to the farm because his daughter needs him, but he refuses, having lost all hope after the barn massacre. Hershel explains that he spent his whole life trying to raise his daughters to his beliefs only for Rick to show up and destroy everything. He says that Rick and his group are like a plague, and Rick insists that Hershel can't have lost all of his faith. After the conversation calm down, Hershel decides to go back to the farm with them. As the three are about to leave, two survivors, Dave and Tony, walk into the bar. They share a drink as Dave tells them of his journey across the country looking for a safe place, having found Fort Benning destroyed and mentions that Nebraska is a possible safe place. Dave tries to convince Rick and Hershel to let him and Tony move to the farm but they don't agree. The tensions begin to rise, Dave, after numerous failed attempts to convince Rick to let them join his group, draws his pistol. Rick quickly kills him with a shot to the head, and then turns and kills Tony.
After the killing Dave and Tony, Rick, Hershel, and Glenn are about to leave but instead get pinned down in the bar by three members of Dave and Tony's group: Nate, Randall, and Sean. Rick tells them that Dave and Tony pulled their guns out on them first, but the group begin to shoot. Rick tells Glenn to check the back exit. After hearing shots coming from the back, Rick asks Hershel to cover Glenn as they leave through the back door. Sean spots Glenn and starts shooting, just to get shot by Hershel in the chest, Rick and Hershel notice that Glenn is not moving, he says he thinks Glenn was hit. Rick finds out that Glenn is just frozen behind a dumpster and approaches him. Randall spots them from a roof and starts shooting at them. While they take cover, Nate appears in the street inside his car and tells Randall that the gunfire attracted walkers into the town, Randall tries to jump from the roof but fails, Nate apologizes and leaves town, leaving his friend behind. Rick decides to investigate and he discovers that Randall accidentally fell and impaled his leg on a fence spike. Rick, Hershel, and Glenn argue about saving him and how to do so. Hershel suggests to put him down from misery.
The walkers slowly begin to close in on them so they decide to try to amputate his leg, but do not have enough time. Before the walkers can devour Randall, Rick lifts Randall's leg off of the spike, tearing his calf muscle. Rick, Hershel and Glenn returns to the farm by the morning, with Randall blind folded in the backseat as a hostage. The group argues on what to do with Randall, Rick says that they will fix him up, wait for him to heal and then drop him off to defend himself. Shane thinks that he will tell his group where the farm is and this will start a war. Hershel reminds Shane that it is his farm and while he is there he needs to keep his mouth shut. While Lori and Rick are in a tent Lori tells Rick that she thinks Shane killed Otis, that he is dangerous and if Rick doesn't do something about it they may all be in danger.
One week after the events of the previous episode, Rick and Shane drive down a country road. Rick stops the car short of their destination — 18 miles away from the farm — to confront Shane: Rick knows what happened with Otis, and he knows about Shane's liaison with Lori. Rick asks Shane if he believes Rick is unable to keep his family safe. "You can't just be the good guy and expect to live," Shane replies. "That is my wife, that is my son, that is my unborn child," Rick says. He would do anything for them. Rick opens the SUV to check on Randall, who's bound, gagged, and blindfolded in the trunk.
Back on the road, Rick makes plans for the coming winter, explaining that they have to conserve ammunition and stockpile food. Shane listens passively, staring out the window at a lone walker ambling through a field. Rick drives past the 18-mile mark, looking to leave Randall somewhere he'll have a chance. He pulls up to a public works station surrounded by a fence. A walker in police uniform approaches. Shane draws his gun but Rick stops him. Rick cuts his finger and wipes blood on the fence. When the walker presses his face against it, Rick stabs it in the head. "Gun's quick, easy," Rick says, "but there are other ways to do this." A second walker in uniform approaches, and Shane follows suit.
After checking if the place is secure, Rick siphons gas as Shane examines the policeman's bodies, noticing they haven't been bitten. Rick points to scratches that likely caused their transformation. Rick and Shane drag Randall to the pavement. Rick drops a knife on the ground as he and Shane walk away, Randall begs them not to abandon him, trying to explain he's a normal guy. "I went to school with Maggie for God's sake!" he screams. Rick and Shane freeze. "He knows where the farm is," Shane speculates, drawing his gun. Rick tackles Shane as he pulls the trigger, forcing Shane to miss Randall. Rick argues he needs time to think about what to do. Shane counters that Randall could lead his people to the farm and accuses Rick of putting Lori and Carl in danger by sparing him. "I don't think you can keep them safe," Shane concludes. The two best friends begin brawling. Shane topples a motorcycle onto Rick, briefly trapping him. He goes to Randall and aims his gun, but Rick tackles Shane before he can fire and subdues Shane with several punches to the face. Rick then yells out that he won't let Shane make the decisions anymore because of his ruthless and anger-driven attitude. Frustrated, Shane grabs a wrench and hurls it at Rick. Rick dodges the wrench but it goes through a building window which causes dozens of walkers to begin pouring out through the broken window. Rick hides under a corpse as Shane flees the onslaught.
Rick empties his gun as walkers pile on top of him. Shane barricades himself in a school bus against the walkers. After getting the bodies off of him, Rick finds Randall trying to escape, they notice Shane trapped in the school bus, Randall complains that Rick can't save him after the beating they gave each other, Rick agrees and decides to leave Shane for the dead and he drags Randall to the SUV. From the school bus, Shane watches as his partner abandons him. Rick stops to take the weapons off the two dead policemen, but after looking at the corpses, he remembers about him and Shane being best friends before the apocalypse.
In the bus, Shane is losing ground to the walkers when the SUV bursts through a nearby gate. As Randall drives, Rick leans out the window telling Shane to run to the back of the bus as he shoots the walkers. Shane runs to the back of the bus and dives into the SUV, the three finally escape the public station. Back on the road, Rick and Shane restrain Randall and toss him in the trunk once again. Alone, Rick admits he'll likely kill Randall — but he's still going to think it over. "That is my wife, that is my son, that is my child," Rick repeats. "You wanna be with us, you gotta follow my lead." Rick returns Shane's gun to him. "It's time for you to come back," Rick says.
After Daryl reports back to the rest of the group that Randall's group is well armed and in large number, Rick declares Randall a threat, and that he must be killed. "You can't just decide on your own to take someone's life," Dale objects, begging Rick to give him time to talk to the group and find another way. Rick agrees to give Dale the rest of the day, if he manages to convince everyone that this is the best idea, they will let Randall live. Lori finds Rick tying a noose in the barn. He asks if she supports his decision. "If you think it's best," she says, asking what happened on the road with Shane. "He won't be a problem anymore," Rick answers. Carol comes in informing them that Carl was arrogant with her. Rick chastises Carl for talking back to Carol about how people who believe in heaven are idiots, Rick then says "Don't talk, think." As the sun sets, Rick again asks Lori if she thinks he's doing the right thing. Lori nods. The group gathers in the house. Rick asks if anyone thinks Randall should be spared. Dale is disappointed that nobody, except for Andrea, agreed with giving Randall a chance. While holding his tears, he says that Rick and the group completely lost their humanity, on his way out, Dale tells Daryl that this group is broken.
By the evening, Rick, Shane and Daryl bring Randall to the barn and put him on his knees. Rick asks if he has any final words. Randall cries, begging for his life. As Rick raises his gun, Carl enters the barn. "Do it Dad," he says. Shocked, Rick lowers his gun and orders Randall taken away and Shane storms out of the barn. Rick brings Carl back to the camp and tells Lori what happened. "He wanted to watch," Rick says. "I couldn't." A scream is heard from the field and everybody is alerted, Rick orders Carl to go inside as he and the others run to investigate what's happening. Daryl gets to the scene first, where a walker is on top of Dale, tearing into his stomach. Daryl stabs the walker in the head, then shouts for help. Dale's intestines are spilling out of his body; he goes into shock. When Hershel arrives, he reports that Dale can't be saved. As Dale writhes on the ground, Andrea begs Rick to put him out of his misery, and Rick takes out his gun, but can't bring himself to shoot Dale. Daryl takes the weapon, aims it at Dale's head and shoots him.
By the morning, the group hold a funeral for Dale and Rick announces that they are going to prove him wrong by showing that the group is not broken and they can still work together. Rick and Daryl plan to take Randall to the nearby town and leave him there. Shane approaches Rick saying that he needs to have a word with Carl, but Rick declares that his main concern is disposing of Randall. Shane tells Rick that Carl told him that he saw the walker that killed Dale earlier the previous day, but was too afraid to get into trouble and didn't tell anybody. Carl also gave Shane a gun that he stole from Daryl's bike, Shane storms off complaining that Randall is more important to Rick than Carl. Rick goes to the barn and talks to Carl, he encourages him to keep hold of the gun, as they no longer can live without taking action, "I am going to die. Mom. There's no way you can ever be ready for it." When Rick and Daryl prepare to leave, T-Dog is sent to get Randall but discovers that the barn is empty and Randall is missing. While investigating the scene, Shane arrives with his nose bleeding, stating that Randall broke out of the barn and hit him with a rock while he was taking watch.
Rick assembles a group of four which included Glenn, Daryl, Shane and himself to go out in search for Randall, he orders everybody else to lock themselves inside the house and wait for them to come back. While in the woods, Rick and Daryl notice that Shane is strangely agitated, Shane insists that they need to split into teams and search through the forest for Randall. Rick and Shane end up splitting from Daryl and Glenn. As the night fell, Rick notices the strange behavior from Shane and picks apart his story, he comes to the conclusion this was a ruse to lure him out into the field, where Shane would kill him. Rick turns around and tells Shane that nobody will believe him if he goes back to the farm without him and without Randall. Shane explains that he killed Randall earlier and have everything planned to fool the rest of the group into believing that Randall actually killed Rick. He tells Rick he is a better father than he is, is better for Lori than he is and that him returning only messed things up. Shane orders Rick to raise his gun so they can end this once for all.
Rick refuses to defend himself, telling Shane that he's going have to kill an unarmed man. Rick makes it seem as though he's handing Shane his weapon, once his gun is in Shane's hand and Shane is distracted for a moment, Rick pulls out his knife and stabs Shane in his heart, "This is on you, not me! You did this to us, not me!" Rick screams. Shane then dies in his arms. As Rick tries to cope with what just happened, Carl appears, shocked to see Shane dead. He aims his gun in Rick's direction who tries to calm him down, unaware of Shane rising up, now undead. Carl hesitates then pulls the trigger, killing the reanimated Shane seconds before he can bite Rick. Rick looks back confused. The shot alerts a mass herd of walkers, Rick and Carl bend over to check the corpse of Shane while not noticing the wave of zombies approaching in the horizon.
After killing Shane, Carl asks Rick what exactly happened. Before he can answer, Rick notices the herd of walkers approaching and tells Carl to run to the barn. They lure the walkers there and set fire to the barn, killing many. From the roof, they are able to signalize to Jimmy as he drives the RV so they can jump on it. After getting down from the RV, Jimmy is killed by walkers, Rick and Carl are forced to run into the forest. Later, they arrive back to the farm, saving Hershel as walkers were closing in on him. Rick asks where the rest of the group is, Hershel answers that everybody left the farm. They decide to also flee the farm, as it is swarming with hundreds of walkers; Hershel initially wanted to stay, stating that he is not going to leave his farm behind, but eventually leaves with Rick and Carl.
As the sun rises, they reach the vehicle jammed highway from the beginning of the season, they notice no one else has returned. Carl fiercely demands that they go back to find Lori, but Hershel says that keeping Carl alive is more important. As Rick weighs each option, Lori, Glenn and the other survivors arrive. Everybody is happy to see each other alive, they go to the body count: Jimmy died in the RV, Patricia died while trying to leave the house, Shane was killed by walkers (as far as Rick told the group) and Andrea was caught by walkers while saving Carol, but they don't know if she was indeed bitten. When Daryl suggests going back to find Andrea, Rick immediately shoots it down immediately claiming that "we're not splitting up again." The group decide to depart from this area, try to look for another safe heaven where they can live. As the sun sets, Rick's vehicle runs out of gas, prompting him to suggest to the group that they spend the night in some ruins nearby. Everybody starts to panic, saying that is not safe to spend a night on the road, Daryl tells Rick that he and Glenn found Randall reanimated in the forest when they split up from him and Shane. They ask what happened during the last night.
Rick reveals the secret Jenner told him back at the CDC: everyone is infected. Many of the group are angry with Rick, notably Glenn and Carol, for keeping this hidden from them. The revelation of Jenner's secret leaves many of the group having a distrust with Rick (except for Hershel and Daryl, who still trust Rick's judgment). He later tells Lori exactly what happened to Shane, horrifying her. She refuses to let him get near of her and Carl. During the night, while sitting around a campfire by the road, the group is talking about going their separate ways, a noise in the forest startles everyone, they start to complain with Rick about camping in this place, prompting Rick to finally snap and reveal that he killed Shane in cold blood to save the group. He offers anyone who doesn't want to go with him are free to leave. He waits, and when no one gets up to leave, Rick snarls "You stay, get one thing straight: This isn't a democracy anymore." Rick then leaves to investigate the noise. Unknown to any of them, a prison complex looms in the horizon.
Eight months have passed since the final events of the second season, Rick has seemingly been forgiven by the group after the events that transpired, and once again, earns their trust. He has also seemingly taken charge of the group. Rick and the group stumble upon an abandoned house, killing all of the walkers inside and deciding to stay there for a while, Lori's pregnancy is already in an advanced state. The group sit down in silence in the living room but this is short lived when another group of walkers begins to approach the house, causing the group to flee. On the road, Rick discusses with Hershel that they need a place to stay for a few weeks, so Lori can delivery the baby without many problems. They decide to leave this area of Georgia since it's swarming with walkers. While going hunting with Daryl, they stumble upon an overrun prison. Rick realizes it's the perfect place to stay. The group head to the prison entrance, noticing that there are not too many walkers on the field, they can stay there for the night if they close the courtyard gate. Rick manages to shut the gate while the rest of the group distracts and kills the walkers. The group camps in the secure prison yard for the night, Rick reveals his plans to take over the prison, since the place must be stocked with food, weapons and medicine. Lori pleads with Rick to let the group rest for a few days; Rick rebuffs Lori, revealing that while Lori has forgiven her husband, Rick is still bitter towards her because of her affair with Shane and the high probability that the baby could possibly be Shane's.
The next day, Rick and the rest of the group clear out the remaining walkers in the courtyard, cleaning out the entrance to the prison. They find a secure cell block inside, called Cell Block C. Once again, Rick rebuffs Lori when she tries to thank him. The group finds riot gear, flash grenades, and other useful equipment. Rick, Maggie, Glenn, Hershel, and Daryl decide to explore the prison even deeper, to look for the cafeteria and infirmary. They make their way through several corridors only to be ambushed by a group of walkers. Glenn and Maggie are split from the group, but Hershel insists on going back for his daughter. Hershel finds Glenn and Maggie, but is bitten in the lower right calf by a stray walker in the hallway. The group tries to takes Hershel to somewhere safe, and they end up finding the locked cafeteria and break in. Acting quickly, Rick amputates the lower portion of Hershel's right leg to keep the infection from spreading. Noticing that they need to stop the bleeding quickly, Daryl spots five figures watching them and he points his flash-light at them, revealing that they are actually living prisoners.
While Maggie works to stop the bleeding, Rick, Daryl, and T-Dog quickly put Hershel onto a gurney and take him back to Cell Block C, ignoring the five prisoners (Axel, Tomas, Big Tiny, Oscar, and Andrew). However, the prisoners follow them to the cell block and a stand off occurs between the prisoners, T-Dog, and Daryl with Rick intervening. Rick tells them about how the world has been completely overrun by walkers (as the prisoners had no knowledge of the outside world). Outside, a stand off occurs between Tomas and Rick because Tomas wants him and the other survivors to leave, seeing that the prison belongs to the prisoners, not them. Rick cuts a deal to help the prisoners secure a separate cell block in exchange for half of the prisoner's food. While bringing the food the Cell Block C, Rick notices that Hershel is still out, he pulls Glenn aside and tells him to act quickly in case Hershel dies. While Rick, T-Dog and Daryl are taking the prisoners to another cell block, they are forced to fight their way through a small group of walkers, Big Tiny is scratched on his back. Rick tells him that there is nothing he can do to help Big Tiny with this infection, and then shortly, Big Tiny is killed by Tomas.
Rick gets unnerved when a blood-spattered Tomas gives Rick an icy stare. Once they reach the room before the cell block, Tomas ignores Rick's warning and opens up both doors, causing a herd of walkers to rush in. During the fight, Tomas tries to kill Rick twice by swinging his weapon too close to him and pushing a walker towards him. After the walkers are cleared, Rick confronts Tomas once again. He mocks Tomas by saying that "shit happens," and slams his machete on Tomas' head, killing him instantly. Andrew runs away, but Rick catches him and locks him on the outside where walkers are roaming. Rick decides to let Axel and Oscar (the last of the prison survivors) live, they leave them at Cell Block B and goes back to Cell Block C. Rick holds Hershel's hand as he awakens and thanks Lori for saving Hershel's life. He meets up with Lori outside and touches her shoulder, being the first time in months that he touches her. He then claims that the group is grateful for her saving Hershel, and walks away without making eye contact.
While planning to burn all the corpses from walkers the group killed inside the prison, Rick and the others receive an unexpected visit from Axel and Oscar. The two prisoners tells them that Cell Block B is a haunted place and they rather leave the prison than live in that place. After consulting Daryl, Rick decides to let the prisoners leave, as it was part of their agreement, even though T-Dog is against this decision, saying that kicking them out of the prison is a death sentence. While Rick, Daryl, and Glenn went out to get wood to burn the corpses, walkers start to invade the prison courtyard, forcing the group to split up.
Rick and the others recruit Axel and Oscar to help them kill the walkers and they found out that someone broke the latch on the gate that protected the group from walkers getting in. He thinks that either Axel or Oscar committed the crime, which allowed walkers to enter. Soon after, a loud prison alarm is heard and Rick, Daryl, Glenn, and the two inmates make their way to the generator room to shut off the walker-attracting sound. Rick is then attacked by Andrew, the inmate that Rick left out in the prison yard to be devoured by walkers, but somehow managed to survive. Andrew is then shot in the head by Oscar. On the way back to the courtyard, they find T-Dog's corpse being devoured by two walkers, which Rick can barely look at. After regrouping and realizing that there are still people missing, Rick demands to search for Lori, but hears an infant crying, which is Lori's newborn child; much to Rick's shock as he only sees Carl and Maggie returning with his newborn baby, but not Lori. Upon learning that Lori is dead, Rick sobs hysterically, before collapsing and releasing all his grief for the loss of his wife.
Rick appears to be furious and mentally deranged as he picks up an axe lying in the prison's courtyard. He heads into the prison to find Lori's body, and slaughters "a dozen, two dozen" walkers along the way. Glenn follows Rick inside and attempts to convince Rick to rejoin the group outside, saying that Rick doesn't need to do this alone. Rick is unresponsive until Glenn touches him, and then Rick slams Glenn against the wall. Rick calms down, whips Glenn away, and then walks off without saying a word. When Rick reaches the boiler room, he discovers that Lori's body is gone, sees a knife, and picks up a bullet. He follows a blood streak to find a seated, bloated walker in a stupor from overeating. Rick shoots the walker in the head before stabbing its stomach multiple times. While collapsed in a daze on the floor of the boiler room, he distantly hears a baby wail and a phone ring. Confused, Rick notices a phone nearby and goes to answer it.
Rick picks up the phone receiver and hears a woman's voice on the other end. He is told that she is part of a large group who haven't experienced any walkers or deaths and are safe. When Rick pressures her to reveal more, she hangs up. Rick then reunites with the rest of the group to check up on Carl. When Glenn volunteers to assist Rick in dragging bodies out of the boiler room, Rick walks away. He is later confronted by Hershel, who offers his condolences to Rick about Lori's death. Rick tells him about the woman on the phone and says she'd call back in two hours after talking with the others in her group; Hershel offers to wait with him, but Rick declines. When the phone rings once again, a man from the group asks how many people Rick has killed; he answers four. After asking why he let Lori die, Rick refused to answer. The man hangs up, leaving Rick confused and enraged. Later, a third person is on the line and calls Rick by name. Scared, Rick immediately hangs up and back away from the phone. Later, another person calls, Rick hesitates, but answers it anyway. The person reveals herself to be Lori and all the others who had previously called were Amy, Jim, and Jacqui. Rick breaks down and tells Lori that he had never stopped loving her and says he didn't want her to die. Realizing this was all part of an hallucination, Rick hangs up the phone. Later on, he goes back to the cafeteria and holds his newborn daughter for the first time. He goes outside to get some fresh air, but witnesses a strange figure approaching the prison along a bunch of walkers. As he takes a better look, he realizes that it's a woman covered in walker's guts outside the Prison gates and carrying the supplies from Glenn and Maggie.
Rick is staring at Michonne outside of their fence, surrounded by walkers. Undeterred, Michonne takes out a few walkers when her scent is exposed, but Carl and Rick assist in taking out the rest, as she passes out. After hoisting her over his shoulder and carrying her inside the prison, he lays her down and provides her with medical treatment from Hershel. He questions her over Glenn and Maggie's whereabouts, and she explains that they were taken by one of The Governor's henchman and that The Governor is the sick leader of a town nearby called Woodbury. Later, Rick formulates a plan to attack Woodbury and retrieve Glenn and Maggie. On the way out of the prison, he and Carl decide on the name Judith for the baby. Rick, Daryl, Michonne, and Oscar then commence their journey to Woodbury. However, on the way, they are overtaken by walkers on foot and are forced to take shelter inside the home of a hermit. The hermit, apparently unaware of the apocalypse, bolts for the door, but is run through by Michonne, before being tossed to the walkers as a distraction while the group made their escape. Later on, at night, they finally came upon Woodbury's gate, crouched behind crashed cars, and surveyed the area.
With the help of Michonne, Rick leads the group into Woodbury to recover Maggie and Glenn from their confinement. They manage to silently capture and interrogate one of the guards, but he is unaware of what's happening. After hearing gunshots, Rick and the group head to the sound's source, finding Glenn and Maggie about to be executed. They throw in flash grenades from the prison, blinding all of the henchmen and during the confusion, they manage to take Glenn and Maggie to a safe place. However, Michonne leaves the group and wanders into Woodbury by herself. When Daryl learns that his brother Merle is a resident of Woodbury after Glenn reveals that Merle was the one responsible for kidnapping and brutally beating him, Daryl yearns to speak with his brother. Rick refuses, as it is too risky to make contact with any resident. They decide to leave and another shootout between the Woodbury soldiers and the group ensues. During the shootout, Rick notices an hallucination of "Shane" walking through the smoke and Rick stares, transfixed. "Shane" fatally shoots Oscar, and Rick retaliates, shooting him in the head. Upon inspection, Rick discovers that it was just an ordinary Woodbury soldier. The group moves to escape, but notice that Daryl has fallen behind. While waiting for him outside, an injured Michonne arrives after ditching the group during the rescue mission. They hold her at gunpoint, asking her what was she doing, but she offers to help locate Daryl.
Rick and Maggie once again break in and attack Woodbury, successfully rescuing Daryl and Merle as they were forced to fight each other in a death match. After escaping and reuniting with Glenn and Michonne, Merle begins insulting the group, but Rick pistol-whips him unconscious. They decide not to bring back Merle because of his attitude, and also decide not to include Michonne because she is too much of a loose cannon. Daryl refuses to leave Merle behind and, despite Rick's protests, abandons the group. Glenn is also angered at Rick for not killing the Governor during the attack and focusing more on rescuing Daryl, who abandoned them. Rick informs Glenn that rescuing Daryl was the main priority. Rick also informs Michonne that once she is patched up, she is on her own. Back at the prison, Rick has to decide the fate of a recently-arrived group led by Tyreese Williams, who offer to do anything to help and agree to stay out of Rick's hair. Rick rejects the idea, but Hershel argues that it might be the best decision to include them since they are short on manpower (following Oscar's death and Daryl's absence). While Rick is deciding their fate, he starts hallucinating once again. He witnesses a vision of Lori, causing him to lash out at it. Everyone there believes he is yelling at Tyreese's group to leave, prompting Glenn to rush them out before Rick attacks them.
By the next day, Rick is still in a deranged state, witnessing multiple visions of Lori. He leaves the prison and follows his dead wife, with Michonne standing by and watching him. He is then confronted by Hershel, who asks him to come back and bring order and stability, since Glenn is not in the best state of mind to take control of the group. Rick declines, heading back into the woods. The Governor and his group ambushes him and opens fire on the prison. Rick is forced to take cover, returning fire to the attackers. A truck full of walkers run down the prison's gates and fill the yard with walkers, putting Hershel's life in danger. Rick tries to go around the gate to save him, but walkers attracted by the gunfire surround Rick before he can make it to the entrance. Out of ammo, he is pinned to the fence by three walkers, but before they could infect him, the Dixon brothers return and save his life. Noticing that Michonne and Glenn managed to save Hershel's life, Rick stares darkly at the prison's yard, once again overrun by walkers.
The group discusses what to do about Woodbury following the attack. Rick tries to wander outside, but Hershel yells at him to get his head clear and do something instead of simply walking away. Listening to Merle's advice that the Governor must have soldiers watching the prison, Rick goes out and scouts the prison's yard, finding out that there is in fact Woodbury soldiers watching them from behind the trees. Carl comes out and advises Rick to stop being the leader for now because he deserves a rest and suggests letting Hershel and Daryl lead for a while.
When Andrea shows up at the prison, Rick lets her in, and them slams her against the fence and searches her while demanding to know if she came alone. Andrea tries to make peace to avoid any more bloodshed, but Rick and the others make it clear that they want revenge against both the Governor and Woodbury. Andrea says that the Governor wanted to negotiate and Rick and the others fired at them, but Rick reveals that the Governor indeed attacked the prison first, exposing the lie that he had told her about the Survivors attacking them. The negotiation ends when Rick storms off after Andrea refuses to allow them inside of Woodbury. Andrea then departs in a prison car given to her by the group. Rick also gives her a handgun and a knife before she leaves should she decide to murder the Governor herself. Later that night, while Beth is singing by candlelight, Rick tells Hershel that he is going on a weapons run and wants to bring Michonne and Carl along with him.
Rick goes on a run with Carl and Michonne, which leads them into Rick's hometown. On the way, they notice a man by the road begging them to stop the car, but they simply ignore him. Carl shows that he's concerned about bringing Michonne with them, since she is not part of the group. They arrive in King County and enter the armory of the Sheriff's Department, only to find out that all the weapons were taken. Rick knows where to find more guns in the main street. To their surprise, the main street has a strange set of traps, when a walker is shot in the head. They look up to find that a stranger on a roof has them at gunpoint. They have a short shootout, Rick orders Carl to get to the car and wait for him, Michonne tries to sneak upon the mysterious man, but he disappeared. Rick is confused when the man shows up again in the street, shooting at Rick while he takes cover. Carl ultimately shoots the stranger in the chest. Rick pulls off his shirt, which reveals he was wearing body armor. He then pulls off the stranger's helmet, revealing that it's Morgan Jones.
They take him inside the building, while avoiding booby traps. The three notice that Morgan has an immense stockpile of weapons and begin to put them in bags to take them to the prison. While Rick is reading several sentences Morgan wrote on the walls, he finds the walkie-talkie he gave Morgan when he left King County. Rick remembers about his intentions of finding Lori, but soon he notices a writing on the wall that says, "DUANE TURNED." Rick decides to stay and wait for Morgan to wake up and check if he's okay.
While Michonne and Carl go on a run to find a crib for Judith, Rick apologizes to the unconscious Morgan. During a moment of distraction, Morgan wakes up and takes a knife taped to the side of the bed. He attacks Rick and ultimately stabs him in the upper-left chest. Rick points his gun at Morgan's head, and the man begs Rick to kill him, Rick realizes that Morgan is not in a sane state. Rick ties up Morgan and tries to remind Morgan that he knows him, while the latter yells out "you're wearing the skin of a dead man" over and over. While Rick bandages himself up, Morgan repeatedly asks Rick to kill him. Rick proceeds to hold up the walkie-talkie to jog Morgan's memory and he begins to remember. He immediately lashes out at Rick for not using the radio every morning like he promised, while Rick insists that his group kept being pushed inland and thus unable to constantly maintain contact. Morgan bitterly tells Rick what happened to Duane.
Rick tries to convince Morgan to go to the prison with them, where it's safe, but Morgan notices that they are taking a lot of guns, meaning that someone else wants the prison. Rick states that they are going to win this war, but Morgan refuses to join them, saying that Rick and everyone in his group will die "by either teeth or bullets."
While putting the guns in the trunk of the car, Rick asks Carl how it went with Michonne, Carl answers that "she might be one of us." Rick, Carl and Michonne leave King County, as Rick watches Morgan preparing to burn the corpse of walkers caught on his booby traps. On the way back, they notice the remains of the man they had seen earlier by the road, they stop to pick up his backpack and move on.
After a meeting being set up by Andrea, Rick rides out with Daryl and Hershel to an abandoned farm store to discuss peace terms. Rick and the Governor finally meet face-to-face for the first time. The Governor assures that he only wants to talk and in a gesture of good faith, he removes his pistol, hangs the holster up out of arm's reach and calmly sits in a chair; he invites Rick to do the same, but Rick just holsters his gun and continues to glare. Unknown to Rick, the Governor has taped a gun under his side of the table. Andrea storms into the barn, complaining that the Governor started the meeting without her; Rick says that he knows everything about the Governor: the raids, the heads in fish tanks and that he attempted to rape Maggie. The Governor asks Rick for his terms, and he hands the Governor a map of the area: Woodbury takes west of the river, the prison takes the east and the two groups will not interact or trade with each other. The Governor scoffs at the offer and says that he wants the prison survivors to surrender to him. Rick says that if he wants a surrender, then "come and get it." Andrea interferes telling both men to calm down, but the Governor asks her to leave him and Rick to discuss this privately. As Andrea leaves the barn, one of the Governor's henchman, Martinez (who is waiting outside), closes the door.
Rick and the Governor start to insult one another about their respective positions as leaders. Incredibly they show some level of respect for each other, although Rick calls him a town drunk for killing Axel and running down the prison's gates. The Governor asks if Rick ever misjudged someone, and says that he knows about the possibility of Judith being someone else's daughter. He says that if he just leaves the Survivors alone, his people are going to think he is weak. "That's your problem," Rick says. The Governor shares a story about the day his wife died: he was at work when he received a call from the hospital telling him that she died in a car accident. He muses that earlier in the day, his wife left him a message asking him to call her back but he never managed to do so. "What did she want?," the Governor asks. Rick remembers about Lori's death and becomes visibly rattled; the Governor notices this and smirks. He gets up and tells Rick that this fight will go down to the last man, but tells Rick that there is a way out: he promises Rick can have anything he wants if he gives up Michonne.
Rick tries to talk the Governor out of this idea, saying that he is called "The Governor," but he worries about some vendetta and that this is beneath his level. And even if he gives up Michonne, he doesn't trust that The Governor will keep his word about leaving them alone. Nevertheless, the Governor tells Rick to think about it, giving him two days to decide what to do. Rick, Daryl, and Hershel head back to the prison. After reuniting the whole group inside the cell block, Rick gives the word, "I met this Governor, [...] He wants the prison, wants us gone, dead. [...] We're going to war." Rick heads outside, Hershel follows him and Rick reveals that he lied to the group; the Governor wants Michonne, but he doesn't trust the they will be left alone after giving her up. Rick asks Hershel if he is willing to sacrifice his daughter's life for Michonne; a confused Hershel asks him why he is asking that. Rick says that he's waiting for Hershel to try to talk him out of this.
Rick is seen keeping watch in the guard tower of the prison. When Andrea tries signaling Rick, the Governor tackles her. Rick notices a strange movement in the woods and looks over with his sniper rifle, but after further investigation, he dismisses it.
While outside with Hershel and Daryl, Rick informs the latter about the Governor's offer. They both try to dissuade Rick from giving up Michonne, but Rick insists it's their best shot at saving lives. He decides to ask Merle what he thinks of the offer and finds him inside Cell Block B looking for drugs. Merle scoffs after hearing Rick will hand Michonne over and suggests that he use a thick cord or cable to tie her up with, "something that she can't bite or wriggle her way out of." He questions Rick about giving up Michonne without knowing if the Governor will even leave them alone, and mocks Rick for not having guts to do the job himself. While wandering outside, Rick finds a cable to bind Michonne when Lori appears on the catwalk. "You're not there," he mutters, cradling his head. When he looks up, Lori is still there. Realizing that he can't go through with it, Rick throws the cable away and leaves. He goes inside and tells Hershel that "the deal is off."
After looking around the prison with Daryl and not finding either Michonne or Merle, they realize that Merle took Michonne to the Governor as per the deal and goes to bring them back; Daryl stops Rick and says that he's a much better tracker and goes alone, telling Rick to have everyone ready for war when he comes back. Rick then sets up a meeting with the entire group inside the prison, where he tells them the truth about the deal of giving up Michonne. He says that he changed his mind, but Merle already took Michonne and Daryl went off to stop them but admits that he doesn't know if it's too late. He recounts about what he said after the destruction of the farm: "It's not my call. I couldn't sacrifice one of us for the greater good because we are the greater good," he says. "I'm not your Governor. We choose to go. We choose to stay. We stick together." Rick then goes to the guard tower and while looking through his carbine rifle, spots a figure approaching the gates. He sees that it's Michonne coming back alone without Daryl or Merle.
Rick and the survivors are seen packing up their supplies and loading it into several vehicles, Glenn approaches Rick and tells him about Carl being upset with their plan, but Rick tells Glenn that Carl is just a kid and he will understand it. While doing a final sweep of the cell block, Michonne comes up and thanks Rick for allowing her into the group. Rick and the rest of the group hide as the Governor and the Woodbury army arrive at the prison well armed and in large numbers. The Governor notices that the prison seems to be empty and he leads his army into the tombs. There they trigger several flash grenade traps as well as the prison's alarm system, attracting walkers to flood the corridor. As they flee the tombs and head outside to regroup, Glenn and Maggie ambush them, catching the Woodbury army by surprise and forcing them to flee.
Rick and the others celebrate as their plan to scare off the Governor worked, but since the possibility of the Governor returning still exists, they decide to chase him down. As they check on the rest of the group, Rick is told by Hershel that Carl killed a Woodbury soldier after he had surrendered his weapon; Carl assures Rick that the soldier attacked them, but Hershel insists that he saw that Carl shot the soldier in cold blood, causing Rick to worry. As they prepare to pursue the Governor, Rick sees another vision of Lori up on the catwalk. He then asks Carl about the shooting. Carl admits the Woodbury soldier had indeed surrendered his weapon before being shot. Still, he says, "I couldn't take the chance," pointing out that Rick's choices of letting people live constantly caused the death of many people in the group, such as letting Andrew and the Governor live, which caused the deaths of Lori and Merle respectively. Carl says that he did what he had to do and walks off; Rick hears something hit the ground and notices that Carl dropped his old sheriff's badge.
Rick, Michonne, and Daryl leave the prison in pursuit of the Governor. They eventually come across the entire Woodbury army dead by the road next to their vehicles. As they look around, they discover Karen, the lone survivor, hiding in one of the assault vehicles. She reveals that the Governor murdered everyone for no reason whatsoever, and they decide to go after him in Woodbury. They arrive there at nightfall, encountering Tyreese and Sasha and laying down their weapons. Rick and Karen explain that the Governor killed everyone and they came to end this war, but Tyreese says that the Governor didn't return to Woodbury.
When hearing from Tyreese that Andrea successfully escaped from Woodbury, Rick mentions that she never made it to the prison and suggests she could still be in the town. They head to the interrogation room where Glenn and Maggie were kept and notice a pool of blood under the door. They find a walker dead and Andrea fatally bitten. When she asks if Judith, Carl, and the rest of them are alive, Rick replies, "Us. The rest of us." She asks Rick to hand over his gun so she can kill herself, saying "I know how the safety works"; after some hesitation, Rick hands her his revolver. Michonne stays with Andrea as Rick, Tyreese, and Daryl head outside and wait for her to commit suicide. In the morning, Rick and the group return to the prison along with with a school bus filled with the eighteen remaining Woodbury survivors, including Tyreese, Sasha and Karen. Carl approaches Rick and asks what is this about. "They're gonna join us," Rick replies as Carl walks off. Rick then looks up at the catwalk and Lori is nowhere to be seen, signifying that he believes he made the right decision.
Rick first appears at the beginning of the episode when he exits Cell Block C to work in the farmland located at the courtyard of the prison. While digging the dirt, Rick finds a pistol and looks at the walker infested fence while holding it in his hands. However, he unloads the weapon and throws the clip and the gun into a wheelbarrow and continues with his work. He is approached by Carl and the two check on Violet, a pig that they were going to use for food, but that they find on the ground motionless, apparently suffering from an illness. When Michonne returns, Rick and Carl open the fence for her, and she gives Rick a shaving machine for his face. Later, Rick decides to check the walker snares outside the prison and is convinced by Hershel to bring his gun.
In the forest, Rick hides from an apparent walker, but he discovers it to be a living woman named Clara. Clara asks Rick for help, as she and her husband haven't eaten for days, so Ricks gives her some food. Noticing Rick's state, Clara finds out from him that he is in a camp and asks to join it. Rick tells her that he has to ask her and her husband three questions to allow them entrance so Clara decides to bring him to her shelter, but Rick warns her not to try anything. On the way, Clara tells him how she ended up in the forest and how her husband always cared and saved her from everything.
When they arrive, Clara begins talking to her husband but Rick doesn't see anyone else and then Clara attacks him with her knife. However, Rick tackles her and holds her at gunpoint. He finds out that her husband was killed and reanimated and needed living food to eat. Finally deciding that she didn't have what was needed to survive, Clara stabs herself in the stomach to join her husband, in front of a crying Rick. In agony, Clara demands for the three questions. Rick tells that they were "How many walkers have you killed?," "How many people have you killed?," "Why?" She answers the first two but to the final she says "You can't come back from the things you have done." Clara then dies and Rick returns to the prison. He tells his experiences to Hershel and also tells him how her final words had left him some doubts about the things he experienced and did.
Rick is first seen with Carl tending to the pigs where Carl asks for his gun and to help with the walkers at the fence but Rick tells him he wants him to focus on helping with the garden. After their conversation, Cell Block D is attack by walkers and Rick rushes over to help. Rick takes out many walkers and saves many survivors.
After the attack, Rick along with Hershel, Dr. Subramanian, Daryl, and Bob examine an undead Patrick's body and discuss the cause of his death being sickness. Rick then lets Carl, Maggie, Michonne know about the whole ordeal. Once Maggie spots one of the fences caving in, Rick rushes over to help kill the walkers. The walkers are too hard to deal with and are crushing the fence. Rick thinks with his head and deduces that the pigs he was farming were the reason behind Patrick's death, because Violet had died from sickness and the boar Rick encountered had also died of sickness. Rick, with Daryl's help, sacrifice the pigs by luring the walkers away from the fence to feast on them.
After the whole situation has slimmed down, Rick begins to burn down the pigs enclosure to stop any chances of the possible virus still being around. At the same time, he gives Carl his gun back and takes out his Colt Python for protection. Rick then burns his shirt in the fire.
Rick was seen together with Tyreese, Daryl, and Carol in the courtyard were the burned corpses of Karen and David were found. After a brief discussion what to do to stop the unknown person later revealed to be Carol, Tyreese attacks Daryl and then Rick, but he managed to strike Tyreese down in rage. Rick visibly shocked about that what he done leaves the courtyard. Rick was later seen again with Carol. They discuss if they clean the pipe for fresh water at that day or the next day. Rick comes to conclusion that they will clean it the next day. Later Rick visits Tyreese outside where he digs graves, he apologize for what he has done but Tyreese is still mad at him. Rick is then seen investigating the deaths of Karen and David. Later he is seen asking Carol if she killed them, where she then replies 'Yes'.
Rick and Carol head to a suburb to find food for the group as supplies at the prison are running low. Rick and Carol meet a couple named Ana and Sam, and they all decide to work together to find food. Carol tries to explain to Rick why she murdered Karen and David. Later on, they find Ana's death body, and Sam is nowhere to be found. As they are about to leave, Rick locks the car doors to prevent Carol from entering. When she asks why, he responds that Karen and David may of lived, and she had no right to kill them. He then kicks her out of the group and tells her that she is not allowed back at the prison. Rick then gives Carol ammo, food and gas for a car, and they say their goodbyes. After, Carol drives away and Rick gets ready to go back to the Prison himself.
Rick is seen driving back from his run with Carol. When Maggie opens the gate to the prison and asks him about the now banished Carol, he tells her the truth about the deaths of Karen and David, asking her not to tell anyone else. Rick is then later seen meeting up with Carl, telling him that he must continue to stay with the separated prison survivors and giving him food from his run. Later, Rick witnesses Hershel stabbing a corpse in secret, asking him why he is keeping it hidden, to which Hershel replies that the survivors do not need to be constantly exposed to things like that. Rick then tells Hershel about Carol and asks him if things will ever be like they were before, to which Hershel says that they won't. When Maggie is struggling to keep the walkers surrounding the prison from overrunning the fence, Rick helps her to reinforce them with lumber. When a gunshot is heard from the cell blocks, Rick dismisses Maggie to help. When the fence is about to break, he request help from Carl, who aids him in killing the walkers pouring through the fence. The next day, he is seen with Carl in the gardens, where they share a moment, before the camera reveals that the Governor is watching them from afar.
Rick briefly appears at the end of this episode, being watched from a distance by the Governor.
Rick has a heated argument with Daryl about banishing Carol after her murdering Karen and David. When Rick mentions that he doesn't know how Tyreese will respond when he finds out, Daryl insists on talking to Tyreese right away. Tyreese shows them a dissected squirrel, insisting that there is a psychopath among them, who is responsible for feeding the rats to the walkers at the fence and killing Karen and David. When Rick tries to explain that he knows who killed Karen and David, The Prison is rocked by an explosion.
Outside, it turns out that the Governor is outside the fences with his tank and his militia. Philip asks Rick to come down to talk with him about leaving the prison to the Governor and his new group, or everyone will die. He brings out Hershel and Michonne (who were captured by Philip while burning the bodies of the dead ill), and threatens to kill everyone if Rick and his group do not leave before sundown. Rick pleads that everyone can live next to each other in the prison because there is enough room for all of them. Irritated, Philip takes Michonne's katana and holds it to Hershel's neck, thus threatening to decapitate him if Rick does not comply. Rick turns to Tara and others of Philip's group, asking them if this is what they want. When he tells them that they can come back from the things they have done before, and that no one is too far gone, Philip initially retracts the katana from Hershel's neck, but then mutters "liar" and partially decapitates Hershel.
In fury, Rick shoots at the Governor, missing all of his shots, before being forced to run to hide behind the overturned bus, due to the returning gunfire from Philip's army. While doing so, Rick sustains a gunshot in his thigh. When Philip and his army moves into the prison building, Rick tackles him and starts a fistfight. However, Philip eventually gains the upper-hand and savagely beats Rick up, before attempting to choke him to death. Rick nearly passes out, when, suddenly, Michonne stabs Philip through his chest with her katana. Rick goes back into the courtyard of the prison to find Carl, when two walkers approach him. However, before they can attack an unarmed Rick, Carl dispatches them with a lever action rifle. When they look for Judith, they find her baby carrier soaked in blood, implying that walkers devoured her. Devastated, Carl shoots the nearest walker with all of his remaining ammunition, prompting Rick to stop him. Carl leads Rick away from a burning prison, which is now overrun by walkers, attracted by the sounds of the battle. Rick, badly injured, leans on Carl and tells him not to look back as they leave the burning prison in the distance.
Rick and Carl come across a bar while walking from the prison, finding a few supplies before coming across a house in the neighborhood, where they reside. Rick takes notice of his son's hostility towards him while pushing a sofa up against the door. While sleeping on the couch, his falls into unconsciousness and Carl tries unsuccessfully to wake Rick up the next day. Carl then begins to rant, scolding Rick for underestimating Carl's survival skills, as well as failing to protect Judith, Hershel, Lori, Glenn, Daryl, and says that he would be fine if Rick died. Carl departs and raids a nearby house for food, but returns after he barely escapes being killed by a walker in the house. Rick wakes up and Carl, thinking his father has turned, cannot go through with killing him and tries to commit suicide by allowing Rick to kill him for being wrong about thinking he would be better off on his own. Rick wakes up, telling Carl to go outside and keep himself safe. The two hear a knock at the door, and Rick gets up and looks through the peephole to see Michonne. Rick keels over with laughter, telling Carl that it is for him.
Rick and Carl have reunited with Michonne. The following morning, Michonne asks Rick if they will stay in the house that they are living in, to which Rick responds: "we'll wait and see." He also thanks Michonne for making Carl laugh, stating that he hardly remembers that sound. Later in the day, Michonne says that they need to get new supplies so she and Carl will go out. Rick wants to come as well, but Michonne insists that he stays home and rest due to his injuries. Rick relents and hands Carl his revolver and asks them to be back at noon. He then goes upstairs and lays down on a bed and reads a book but falls asleep. Later he wakes up and hears voices coming from downstairs. He quickly realizes that the voices are not Carl or Michonne's and has little time to react as he hears someone coming up the stairs. He jumps up, grabs a bottle of water and rolls under the bed. One of the bandits, named Tony, enters the room and after some walking around, he lays down on the bed and falls asleep. Len enters the room and calls to Tony, saying he wants the bed. They argue and eventually get in a fight which ends with Len pinning Tony to the ground and strangling him. As he blacks out, Tony sees Rick and tries to tell Len but passes out before he can. After the fight, Len moves to go back to sleep, but is called downstairs, which gives Rick time to grab what he can and sneak to another room. Rick tries to escape by opening the windows but is unable to do so without making noise. He runs back to the other room, trying to sneak out but Len walks upstairs so Rick hides in the bathroom. As he closes the door, he turns his head and sees Lou on the toilet. They start to scuffle and Rick eventually gets the upper hand and strangles him. He grabs Lou's machine gun and manages to get out by a window after taking a jacket from the house, and sneaks up to the porch where Joe is smoking. He prepares to attack him so he can escape safely, but before he can strike, screams are heard from the inside due to Lou reanimating and assailing one of the men inside. Joe curses and heads inside, much to Rick's relief. He escapes and encounters Carl and Michonne who have just returned from their supply run. The trio leave the area together. Later, they walk down a railroad and encounters a sign where it says: "Sanctuary for all. Community for all. Those who arrive, survive. Terminus." They pause for a moment and then decide to continue walking.
Rick is seen with Carl and Michonne, walking the train tracks while Carl and Michonne are walking on the rails, doing a bet to see who will last the longest without falling off. Carl wins, and gets to pick which of the last two chocolate bars he wants. The three then continue down the tracks to Terminus.
Rick, Carl and Michonne are sitting by a fire and go to check their snare trap for animals, where they find they have caught a small rabbit. Soon, the three hear cries for help and Carl takes off further into the woods with Rick and Michonne giving chase. They find a man struggling to fend off a herd of walkers, but don't do anything as they are outnumbered and it's too late to save the man as walkers cave in, devouring him. That night, Rick and Michonne discuss Terminus while Carl sleeps in a car.
All of a sudden, Joe and his group ambush Rick, Michonne. Meanwhile, Carl is ambushed by Dan at the car. Tony recognizes Rick and the group realizes he killed Lou. After a tense countdown, Daryl appears and tries to put an end to the scene. Daryl claims that Rick and the others are good people, but Joe simply tells him that Rick was responsible for killing their friend. When Daryl offers himself up in place of Rick, Joe looks shocked. He calls Daryl a liar for saying that Rick is a good person and makes a call for the rest of his group to beat Daryl to death for lying. Joe then informs Rick that they are going to beat Daryl to death, rape Carl, then Michonne, and finally achieve closure by killing Rick. While Dan tries to rape Carl, Rick headbutts Joe, who was pointing the gun on him. Joe fires on reflex (and misses). Rick manages to punch Joe, but Joe counters with his own punch knocking Rick to the ground. As Rick gets up, Joe locks Rick in place by grabbing Rick, pinning his arms and holding him still. Joe then asks, "what the hell you gonna do now, sport?" Rick answers by biting his neck open, eventually killing him. This death acts a distraction for Billy, Harley and Tony allowing Daryl and Michonne to easily kill them. Rick, face splattered in blood, angrily mutters "he's mine," marching towards Dan and stabbing him repeatedly, killing him.
The next day, Rick is seen sitting by the car, face and hands covered in blood as he stares off in the distance, trembling. Daryl gives him a rag and wets it in water, so he can clean himself up. Daryl begins blaming himself for having even the slightest bit of trust and faith in his erstwhile comrades, but Rick says that it was not on him and that he is Rick's brother. Eventually, Carl wakes to hear Rick and Daryl's conversation.
On the outskirts of Terminus, the groups split up with Daryl and Rick and Carl and Michonne. Rick places his Colt Python in a duffle bag full of guns and buries the bag in the woods outside Terminus, just in case the Terminus people are up to something and the four sneak over the fence into a large room where Gareth, Alex, and a broadcasting Woman are. Gareth has them put down their weapons and frisks them, welcoming them to Terminus and warning them not to try anything stupid as Alex shows them around. While meeting Mary and being offered food, Rick takes notice of items in the Terminus survivor's possession such as Glenn's riot gear, Daryl's poncho that Maggie was wearing, Bob's khaki cargo pants, the hitchhiker's orange backpack (that Glenn took from the Prison) and Hershel's pocket-watch. Realizing something is wrong, he takes Alex at gunpoint, demanding to know where their people are and why their group has the pocket-watch, riot gear and poncho. Everyone in the area (except for Carl, who is frozen in fear) draws their weapons in response. Gareth arrives and asks Rick what he wants while Alex screams for the other members of his group to lower their weapons. Rick demands for Gareth to answer his questions or Alex would die.
After an unknown Terminus resident shoots and kills Alex, a shootout ensues with Rick, Michonne, Carl and Daryl fleeing. They make it to the back entrance of Terminus, but are outnumbered as Terminus residents line up the fences, guns aimed at them. Gareth orders the four of them to lower their weapons. After this, Gareth calls them by specific code names to walk towards the boxcar: Rick (Ringleader), Daryl (Archer), Michonne (Samurai) and Carl (Kid) in that order. Inside, they find Bob, Maggie, Sasha, Glenn, Tara, Abraham, Rosita, and Eugene. Abraham remarks that they won't be there for long, which Rick remarks "No" and says that "They're gonna feel pretty stupid when they find out." Abraham asks what the Terminus group is going to find out and Rick responds with "They're screwing with the wrong people."
Rick and the others create makeshift weapons to fight off their captors, but the Terminus guards instead drop a flashbang grenade into Boxcar A, and drag Rick, Daryl, Bob, and Glenn out. They are taken to the slaughterhouse and lined up bending over a pig trough, where Rick recognizes Sam amongst others brought in. He watches as Sam is brutally murdered by the guards, followed by the other three captives Sam was with. Before Glenn can be executed, Gareth comes in and threatens Bob so Rick will tell him what was in the bag he buried before entering Terminus. Rick tells him what's in it and adds that he will kill Gareth with a machete in the bag. Just as the butcher is given the green light to kill Glenn, a explosion caused by Carol distracts the guards and Gareth leaves the area. Rick, having snuck a shiv of wood up his sleeve, uses it to cut his bonds and brutally slaughters the guards before untying the others. He makes the point of ordering them to let the guards turn, and after discovering their cannibalism, Rick orders the group to kill any Terminus resident on sight.
The four fight their way back outside, and Glenn forces Rick to unlock a container with a survivor inside. However, the survivor is half-crazed and eventually stumbles into a walker which promptly eats him. Rick kills a guard, steals his machine gun, and then uses it to shoot several other people of Terminus, making a point to not kill them and instead let the walkers take them. The four of them return to Boxcar A and free their friends, and the entire group quickly makes its escape as the Terminus residents fire back. A bullet hits Gareth as the group makes their way out of Terminus.
While in the forest outside of Terminus, Rick proposes they finish off the surviving Terminus residents, which many members of the group disagree with. Suddenly, Carol reveals herself to the group. Rick learns she was the one who caused the explosion which led to their escape. She leads the group to the cabin where she, Tyreese and Judith were hiding out, and Rick and Carl are happily reunited with Judith. The group moves away from Terminus, and Rick scratches out a Terminus sign, changing the wording to "No Sanctuary."
After the destruction of Terminus, Rick along with his band of survivors are walking in the woods; upon resting, he confronts Tara and says he knew that she was with the Governor. He explained the reason why he tried to talk to her, that was because he knew she didn't want to be there. Tara visually glad that Rick forgave her, and when Rick asked her whether or not she saved Glenn's life, she tells him that it was Glenn who saved her. "Well, that's how it goes with us," Rick jokes as he fist bumps with Tara. He then tells her to eat because they have a long road ahead.
The group keeps moving from place to place, before eventually setting up camp in the woods just as the night comes. Rick talks to Carol, told her that he still doesn't know what she did to the Terminus residents in order to save him, and the others, and tried to explain to her why he banished her back in the days after the revelation of her being the killer of Karen, and David. Carol shuts him down, as she said that he said she can survive and she did. Rick visually feels guilty as Carol gives him the watch he lost to Sam. Rick told about what happened to Sam, how he was killed in front of him, and he was about to give Ed's watch back to Carol, but Carol refuses. Before they end their conversation, Rick asked to Carol will she have him and the others. Carol nods, and Rick thanks her for he decision before taking off, returning to his family.
The next day, Rick and the others are still in the woods, looking for a possible sanctuary. As they walk, Daryl informs Rick about what occurred last night; he felt someone was watching him, and Carol. A scream of help is heard from afar and Carl convinces Rick to help them. The group rushes toward the screams and finds Gabriel Stokes being attacked by walkers. After killing the walkers and rescuing him, Rick searches Gabriel for weapons and finds nothing. Rick asked him the three questions that he had asked others who had wanted to join his group.
- "How many walkers have you killed?"
- "How many people have you killed?"
After hearing that Gabriel is a priest (and not killing a single walker), Rick asks if he has a shelter they can use. Gabriel offers to bring them to his church that's located close by. While traveling there, he jokes on about leading them to a trap, so that he can steal all of the squirrels that Daryl owns. After seeing Rick and Daryl glare at him, Gabriel mentions that his humor leaves a lot to be desired, escalating Rick's distrust towards him.
Upon arriving at the church, Rick demands Gabriel give him the keys in order to scout the interior of the building (despite Gabriel's earlier claims that he was alone.) After confirming that no one else is there, Abraham tries to convince Rick about going to DC with them. Since they found one of the church buses to be in working order, they should go immediately. Rick declines, and said that they need to find as much food and ammunition as possible, much to Abraham's disappointment. Rick then asked Gabriel where did he get all the canned food he has. Gabriel told him that he got it from a food bank in the nearby town. Gabriel offers to draw a map that will assist them to the place, but Rick still doesn't trust him. He refuses and says Gabriel is coming with him, Sasha, and Bob instead. Before leaving, Rick talks to Carl, telling his son about his distrust towards Gabriel. Despite his father's fears, Carl thinks Gabriel is not a bad guy because not everyone can be bad. Rick then leaves after telling Carl to stay cautious.
On the way to the food bank, Bob tells Rick that he needs to say yes to Abraham's offer on going to DC. Rick says he doesn't believe everything could be undone and that what happened, happened. Bob tried not to resonate with Rick, telling him that the life they have right now, is just a nightmare, and nightmares always end.
The group arrives at the food bank and discovers a hole in the floor, leading to a flooded basement containing both food and walkers. Sasha suggests a plan to use the racks on the basement as shields from the walkers. Rick agrees, and they executed the plan. After awhile, Rick realizes that Gabriel is gone after a walker he recognized spooked him, causing him to run away from the group. Rick informs the others that they have to get to him, and protect him. They eventually are able to reach Gabriel and Rick saves Gabriel from the walker who cornered him.
On their way back to the church, Rick is seen along with Michonne pushing a trolley filled with canned foods. Rick asked about whether she misses her sword. Michonne replies no, and told him that she misses Andrea, and Hershel instead. Rick is visibly saddened when Andrea's and Hershel's names are mentioned.
As everyone is unloading the provisions, Rick asked Tyreese about his son's whereabouts. After finding out where he is, he tells Carl that they're back and he should get some food. Carl tells his father about something first before going back into the church; leading him to the back wall of the church, he shows Rick some scratches on the windows arcs that read "YOU'LL BURN FOR THIS'.
The group throws a feast and Abraham takes this as an opportunity to convince the Survivors to join him go to DC. Hearing what Abraham said, and thinking about his daughter and son, Rick finally agrees. While the others are celebrating, Rick walks towards Gabriel and sits by him. He thanks him for his hospitality and laughs a little when Gabriel says that wine is just wine before getting blessed. Rick says he knows Gabriel is hiding something from everyone and tells him that if whatever it is that he is hiding hurts his group or family. he'll kill him.
After hearing that Bob has disappeared (and noting that Daryl and Carol are gone as well), Rick is convinced that they are being watched by an unknown party and Gabriel is in league with them. Gabriel denies any involvement in their absence and any ties to an outside group. After being forced by Rick when he asks what happened to that girl he saw as a walker and the "You'll burn for this" on the side of the church, Gabriel finally reveals his secret: he locked the church doors and refused to open them for members of his congregation, being forced to listen to them screaming for help as they were devoured by walkers. He believes Rick group has been sent to kill him as he is damned and begs for Rick to kill him.
After Bob is dropped off in the churchyard by Gareth and the Terminus survivors, Rick gets into a heated argument with Abraham; Abraham wants to leave for Washington because the threat that could possibly kill Eugene while Rick refuses to go until Carol and Daryl are found. Eventually, a truce is made and Rick questions Bob where he was taken. After finding out from Gabriel several possible locations, Rick takes Glenn, Maggie, Tara, Abraham, Michonne and Sasha with him and head out to find Gareth. However, they double back and find that the remaining Terminus survivors have infiltrated the church. They sneak back in undetected and wait for an opportune moment to strike.
As Gareth is aiming his gun at the door where the others are hiding, Rick shoots and kills Mike and Albert, as well as shooting off two of Gareth's fingers. He approaches the wounded Gareth who tells Rick that he doesn't know what it's like to be hungry and asks why he didn't kill him during the shootout. Rick coldly remarks that they didn't want to waste any bullets and Gareth pleads that if he, Martin, Greg and Theresa are let go, their paths will never cross again. Rick, knowing that they will kill other people if he lets them live, refuses and pulling out the machete, telling him that "I already made you a promise." Rick immediately strikes Gareth with the machete, hacking him to death as revenge for torturing Bob and for killing/eating countless survivors.
The next day after the Terminus members are killed, Bob talks to Rick, who thanks him for taking him in and advises him that the nightmare may end, but it doesn't have to end who they are. Bob finishes by saying that if he doesn't think the world will change, all he needs to do is look at Judith and have hope. Abraham gives Rick a map to Washington, D.C. which reads "Sorry for being an asshole earlier. Come to Washington. The new world's gonna need RICK GRIMES." Rick, Carl, Judith, Tyreese, Gabriel, Sasha and Michonne stay behind to wait on Carol and Daryl.
Rick appears in a flashback just after he has abandoned Carol for killing Karen and David, and indirectly mentioned by Daryl, when he tells Noah he has many people to get Carol, and Beth back.
Rick and his group added wood on windows for bearer. Michonne wanted to go but Rick said he owns it to Carol a lot more. Rick says goodbye to Judith and Carl and prepares to go to Atlanta to save Carol and Beth. Meanwhile Rick and his other group are on the road to Atlanta. Rick explains the plan at the Hospital floors saying, then Tyreese wants to do some kind of even trade, but Rick said this will work. Noah runs to get the cops attention then Rick wants the cops to drop their gun then the cop ask the way he's holding his gun ask him are you a cop. then more of them show up and they all started firing then Sasha shot the tire and they all run to vehicle but they were gone and they found walkers. Then Rick came back just in time to help Daryl and points his gun at Bob, then the cops explain their plan won't work they said Dawn is smart they said just let them go and will make a trade and this will be over. then Rick talks to bob then he said Dawn won't make a deal she won't compromise, then Rick walks away and rethinks his other plan.
The episode starts with Rick chasing after Officer Bob Lamson, who is running away after having escaped captivity. Rick takes a police car and chases him down. After making several failed requests for him to stop, Rick rams into Lamson, crippling him, and get out of the car to finish the job. Bob tells him that they could still work things out, to which Rick replies, "can't go back, Bob." Lamson tells Rick he's become too detached, but Rick shoots and kills him mid-sentence. "Shut up," he says, as he gets in the car.
Rick returns to the group in Atlanta and informs Daryl of the situation. Daryl suggests the trade will still work, as Dawn was threatened by Lamson. Shepherd and Licari also believe in the trade, as Lamson was their only hope at anything else working.
Later on, Rick appears on the street and meets up with Officers McGinley and Franco in order to parley. He informs them of Licari and Shepherd's incarceration, Lamson's death and Noah joining up with them, recommending the two groups trade: Licari and Shepherd for Beth and Carol.
Rick and his group go to Grady Memorial to make the trade. In a single hallway, the old Atlanta survivors stand across from the Grady survivors. Rick and Dawn warily work out the trade, with Licari and Shepherd switching places with Beth and Carol. However, Dawn also requests Noah return as her ward. Rick at first objects to this, but Noah makes his decision and goes to join Dawn. However, Beth interrupts the deal and attacks Dawn, getting shot in the head in the process, which leads to Dawn also getting shot by Daryl. A shocked Rick takes part in a stand-off between the two groups. Shepherd manages to calm the situation down and end it. Rick makes one final proposal: anyone who wants to leave can come with them. No other members of the hospital leave with Rick.
Rick leaves the hospital with his group and is reunited with the others in a bittersweet moment.
After the death of Beth, Rick ran for a supply run along with Glenn, Sasha, and Daryl. He checked an abandoned truck, cleared it out, and found nothing. Later that night, Rick had a conversation with Noah, who told him that Beth was supposed to go with him to where his community was. It was walled, and had twenty people. Rick asked him where it is. Noah answered that it's far away. despite it's being far away. Rick decided that the place Noah mentioned would be their next destination, telling the group that if it turns out to be right, then it's a long journey they have to take. Glenn asked Rick what if the place is not there anymore. Rick talked Glenn out of it by telling him that they will keep moving on, before being assured by Michonne that they would "find a new place."
Rick takes Noah, Tyreese, Michonne and Glenn with him on a trip to Noah's community to see if it was still viable. He tells Carol over the radio that they were approaching the community and would be checking to see if they could all be accepted.
At the walled community, Rick leads his group over the walls and finds a massacred people. Noah hyperventilates in terror at his family and friends all being dead, and Rick tries to comfort him, but is unable to snap Noah out of his shock. Rick decides to scavenge for supplies before leaving. Since Noah was in no condition to move or help, Rick has Tyreese stay with him while the others look around for any survivors and supplies.
Rick and Glenn find a group of reanimated members of the community, which they dispatch quickly after Michonne arrives to help them. Glenn admits to Rick afterward that he no longer cared if anyone were to have anything resembling safety to offer them, as surviving out in the real world had taught him that the only way to survive was to fight. He said that it didn't matter to him if Daryl had shot Dawn or if he had, but the woman had needed to die no matter what so that they could survive, and if more people needed to die in order for them to live, then he had no problems letting them die. Knowing what he knows now, he says that he wouldn't have pushed Rick to save the crazed man back in Terminus if given another chance. Michonne is disturbed by his revelation, but Rick quietly shares his understanding of Glenn's words. Michonne argues that they didn't need to give up hope on everyone else because of one experience. Glenn counters that it is not just one experience, but seemingly every time they put faith in someone else. Michonne begs Rick to take them to Washington, D.C., where Eugene had said there was a safe-zone. Rick agrees with Michonne, much to Glenn's surprise.
On their way back, Rick, Glenn and Michonne all hear Noah shouting for help. They find him under attack and trapped by a few walkers, but they are able to save Noah, who shares news of Tyreese being bitten. They all rush back to Tyreese, who they find unresponsive to them. While he hallucinates that deceased people from his past are reaching out for him, Rick and Glenn grab his bitten arm for an emergency amputation, which Michonne carries out.
In need of immediate treatment, Rick seeks to rush back to their car through the front gate. He informs Carol over the radio that Tyreese's arm had been cut off, asking her to prepare everyone else for their return. Rick and Glenn carry him out while Michonne takes point, dispatching any walkers in their path. After Michonne opens the front gate, Rick is forced to drop Tyreese as a cluster of walkers attack from the gate. His condition deteriorates as Rick gets him into the car and drives off.
Tyreese bleeds out on the road, and despite Rick and Glenn's efforts to revive him, he does not move and dies. Rick allows Michonne to put him down before putting him back into the car to deliver his corpse. Rick attends Tyreese's impromptu funeral, placing some dirt on his grave.
Rick and his group are sitting on the road waiting for Daryl, Maggie, and Sasha. When driving on the road Rick and the others ran out of gas and start walking on the side of the road. When they walk Rick says few words to Daryl when they walk. Then Daryl wanted to go somewhere for a minute then Carol wanted to go with him. While still walking they see few walkers. Then when they stop near the bridge they see a small group of walkers. Rick proposed that they shouldn't attack the walkers and instead toss them off the hill. Then they still keep moving, but they found a few cars out in the middle of nowhere. Then Rick and his group sit and wait tell Daryl comes back, meanwhile 4 dogs came out of know where then Sasha shot the dogs then they start barbecuing and eating them. After they got done eating they keep moving then they found water but they didn't want to test to see if it was good, but Eugene insist on testing it out, but Abraham knocked the water off of Eugene hands. Then they felt rain dropping then they all started laughing and having fun but they felt a tornado coming, but Daryl found a barn and they all head over there seeing if it's save then they all started to relaxing at Night then Rick starts explaining about his grandpa when he was in war then he started saying that this is how we survive, that we are The Walking Dead. Then when Daryl was up he looks outside and see lots of walkers starting to barge in then Rick and everyone started to block the entrance. The next morning Maggie wakes up to see Rick sleeping and Judith awake.
Rick does not trust Aaron and all his ideas, knocking him out when he tries explaining his community. He demands to know how many are in Aaron's group. After being informed Aaron has cars nearby, he sends Michonne, Abraham, Rosita, Maggie and Glenn to check it out, sending everyone else outside to scout the perimeter, then informing Aaron is the group is not back in an hour he will kill him. When Judith starts crying, Aaron offers him applesauce for her but Rick doesn't trust him to give Rick something without a cost or trick. He makes Aaron try it first to test for poison, then tastes it himself as a second precaution, before giving it to Judith. When the group arrive back with Aaron's food, Rick still doesn't want to go to his community, but is persuaded by the others. Rick does command that they take a different route then Aaron wants, but at night on an uncleared road. Michonne talks to Rick, wanting him to take a chance with Aaron. Later during the trip, Rick rides with Glenn, Michonne and Aaron. He admires Aaron's license plate collection and questions the megaphone used to spy on them. They encounter a herd of walkers which jams up the engine, leaving them stuck. When a flare goes up and Aaron runs into the woods, they chase after him, fighting off walkers as they go. When Rick runs out of ammo, he uses a flare gun and then a machete to kill walkers. After dealing with the situation, they head towards the flare, finding the rest of the group, along with Aaron's boyfriend, Eric. Rick wants Aaron to sleep away from Eric, but Glenn persuades him not too. The next day they complete the journey to Alexandria, with him hiding a gun at a house nearby.
Rick refuses to surrender his gun at first when entering Alexandria, saying if he wanted to use it he would've. He is the first to be interviewed by Deanna Monroe, leader of Alexandria, and is hesitant about her letting them in. He is shocked by Aaron telling him the group get two houses to themselves, but still decides they should all sleep in one. After exploring the house he and Carl share their first hot shower together and Rick shaves his beard off. After being interrupted by a knock on the door, Rick opens it to find Jessie Anderson, who introduces herself and offers to cut his hair. The next day he explores the town and gets worried when he loses sight of Judith and Carl, running through the streets looking for them. After bumping into a sculpture being made by Jessie, she takes him to his children, who are talking to an old couple. He thanks her and agrees to let Carl go to Jessie's house to meet her son, Ron. Later that night, when he is out on a walk, he encounters Jessie's husband, Pete, who welcomes him to the neighborhood. The day after he leaves Alexandria and returns to where he buried his gun. After finding it missing and encountering Carl, they fight off a group of walkers and return to the community. After witnessing Glenn and Aiden Monroe's fight, he is assigned to be constable of Alexandria. Later that night, he reassures Carol and Daryl that they won't get weak; and if the residents of Alexandria are, they'll take the place from them.
Rick, Daryl, and Carol are having a meeting in the woods outside of a house. They are considering heading back when a walker approaches. Carol kills it, and afterwards they see a 'W' carved on the walker's forehead. Later, Rick goes to check on Michonne and the two discuss Deanna's motives for making them constables. Rick and Michonne meet with Deanna and Maggie, where he recommends setting up a guard tower to watch for potential threats, human or walker. After the meeting, Carol comes out of one of the houses and ask Rick whether or not he is going to Deanna's welcome party for the group; he confirms that he will. When Rick, Carl, Judith, and Carol come to Deanna's house, Deanna introduces them to her husband, Reg Monroe. Rick and Reg congratulate each other on their respective achievements: Reg's construction of the wall, and Rick's ability to keep 14 other people alive outside the walls. Deanna decides to call it even. Later, Rick talks with Jessie, her husband Pete, and her son Ron. Sam, her other son, runs up and asks if they are out of cookies, and Rick assures him that he knows the the woman who made them (Carol) and might be able to get him his own batch. Sam gives Rick a stamp of the letter 'A' on his hand, like the other party guests have. Jessie. who is holding Judith, later tells Rick that she hadn't carried a baby for a long time. She returns the baby to him, and he kisses her on the cheek before she walks off. The next morning, Rick, Daryl, and Carol return to the same meeting spot as in the beginning of the episode. Carol procures some guns: Rick takes one, but Daryl refuses. Back inside Alexandria, Rick sees Jessie and Pete. She holds up her fist (stamped with an 'A') and he does the same. Rick walks on to the wall and listens to a walker banging on the other side.
Rick is first seen checking in on Jessie, whose owl sculpture has been destroyed by an unknown party. He tells her that he'll find the culprit for her. Later on Pete comes round to talk to Rick and is obviously drunk. After an awkward exchange Pete leaves, with Rick staring him down as he goes. After discovering that Pete is hitting Jessie, Carol talks to Rick to tell him he is going to have to kill him.
Glenn is seen with Rick, telling him what happened at the warehouse. Glenn says that they need to make it work but Rick says that the Alexandrians do not know what they are doing, or that they have not "caught up" with them yet.
Carol and Rick on speaking to each other on the porch of their house. Carol questions Rick if he has thought about what to do with Pete and tells him of how Sam locks himself in the cabinet and hears his parents fighting, later sees Jessie was unconscious and covered in blood as Pete was just sitting on the porch. Rick asks Carol why she cares what happens to Jessie. She retorts that he knows why with her and she has seen the way he has been talking and looking at her. Carol states that if the walkers had not gotten Ed, then she would not be standing next to Rick. But Rick replies that she still would.
Rick is standing next to the pond with the stolen gun that Carol stole from the armory. Pete runs by Rick and asks him if everything was alright. Rick menacingly tells Pete to "keep walking." Pete looks confused, but he complies anyway.
Rick confronts Deanna over the fact that Pete is abusing Jessie. Deanna reveals that she knew about the blunders and hoped it would get better. Rick says that it will not get better and it will get worse, but Deanna reminds him that Pete is a surgeon, and therefore serves as a vital part of Alexandria. Rick suggests that they lock him up and says that he will kill him if it does not stop. If Pete were to kill Jessie, then Deanna would exile him but Rick states that Pete would bring even more bad people and get revenge. Deanna says that they cannot execute him because it is a part of being civilized. Deanna warns Rick that if he does that, then he will get exiled.
Later in the day, Rick confronts Jessie in her garage. He reveals that he is aware of the strained relationship between her and Pete and attempts to offer her his help. Jessie, however, is reluctant, assuring him that the situation will get better and that it will only go downhill if he gets himself involved. She then begins to understand the reasoning behind why he is trying to help, and becomes indecisive before leaving Rick outside, closing the garage door behind her.
After some time to himself, Rick re-enters Jessie's house through the front door, and tries again to offer Jessie his help, saying that he will be able to keep her, along with her children, safe. Jessie asks whether or not he would do the same for anyone, and he replies that he would not. She then accepts his help, right before Pete arrives. Seeing the two together, Pete attempts to force Rick out of his house. He becomes aggressive and attempts to strike Rick before a fight ensues.
The brawl is soon taken outside the house and into the town square, where the entire community come out to witness the event. Both men are held down in an evenly-matched brawl. Jessie attempts to intervene, but Pete smacks her away, enraging Rick further and turning the tables in his favor before Deanna defuses the situation. Brandishing his gun, he insists that the community's way of handling problems will eventually get people killed, and that they should start controlling who gets to live in the community and who does not. After Deanna states that the fact had not been any more clear than it has in the current situation, Rick sarcastically asks if she is referring to him. He gives a profound speech about what should be done in order to keep the people safe, before he is knocked unconscious by Michonne.
Rick finally regains consciousness and is informed that Pete has been separated from Jessie, and that Deanna is planning to hold a town forum to decide whether Rick should be exiled from the town for his actions. Rick plans to attend the forum to defend himself, but he also makes a backup plan to seize control of the town in case things get out of hand. Rick then pays a visit to Jessie, who thanks him for his help, and Rick promises to protect her. Rick later admits to Michonne that he and Carol stole guns from the armory and tries to return the gun, though Michonne says she would not have stopped him, and that she knocked out Rick to protect him, not Alexandria. She also tells Rick she is confident that they can find a way to integrate with Alexandria, but she will still follow him even if they cannot. Rick later finds the front gate open, as well as evidence that walkers have been able to enter the walls. As he tries to find them he is ambushed by walkers but manages to kill them.
Meanwhile, the forum begins. Michonne, Carol, Abraham, and Maggie all speak in Rick's defense. Deanna then reveals what Father Gabriel had told her, about how Rick and his group are bad people willing to put themselves before the town. At that moment, Rick comes stumbling in with the corpse of one of the walkers he killed, demonstrating that Alexandria's walls alone will not be enough to keep the residents inside safe. He tells them that outsiders, both living and dead, will try to gain entry and reiterates his earlier point that the people of Alexandria must be ready to make tough choices, and that he will teach them to survive. Pete then arrives with Michonne's katana, angrily proclaiming that Rick does not belong in Alexandria. Reg attempts to talk Pete down, but is killed when Pete cuts his throat with the stolen katana. Abraham subdues Pete and a sorrowful Deanna gives Rick the order to execute Pete, which he does, shooting him in the head. At that moment, Daryl, Aaron, and Morgan Jones arrive and witness the execution. Rick is stunned to see Morgan again as the episode ends.
Following Pete's execution, Morgan and Rick discuss the situation in the Safe-Zone. Rick informs Morgan that he does not take anymore chances, implying that precautionary measures will be taken with him as a new arrival. After the two of them talk, Rick informs Daryl of his plans to improve the Safe-Zone's security and convinces him not to go on any more recruiting runs due to their concern for larger problems; Daryl, however, feels differently about his decision to cease bringing in new survivors, insisting that recruiting missions should continue.
Rick enters one of the Safe-Zone's vacant houses to find Morgan practicing with his staff. He and Morgan discuss Alexandria and the circumstances surrounding his need to execute Pete. They head outside and observe Tobin and Gabriel digging graves for Reg and Pete, with Rick insisting that Pete be buried elsewhere, as the community should not hold "killers" within its walls.
Rick and Morgan take Pete's body several miles away from the community and bury it in the forest next to a large quarry. Overlooking the quarry, Rick and Morgan find it to be occupied by thousands of walkers. They soon find Ron, who had been following them after eavesdropping on their conversation at the graveyard, being chased by a small group of walkers. Rick tackles him to the ground in time to save him from both the walkers and falling several meters to his death in the quarry. Before returning to the Safe-Zone, Rick returns to Ron, who had been trying to leave, attempting to help him with a word of advice on survival; however, still bitter with him for executing his father, Ron refuses to listen.
Rick arranges a meeting with the community, explaining what he had witnessed at the quarry and the potential danger the herd served against the community. He enlists the help of several members who had volunteered to aid in his plan of ridding the quarry of the herd and leading them elsewhere, informing them of the barriers that need to be erected in order to keep them from straying and the different rendezvous locations.
The groups begin working on the walls outside of the community. Rick attempts to convince Deanna to allow the use of firearms within the community, before a group of walkers emerge from the forest towards the Alexandrians. After one of the residents, Carter, calls for assistance, Rick encourages them to defend themselves, preventing his group from intervening. As the residents stand paralyzed with fear, Morgan and the rest of the group jump in, killing the walkers. Morgan reminds Rick that they take no chances; Carter glares at Rick.
After Carter attempts to stage an intervention against Rick, Rick bursts into the house in time to find him pointing a gun at Eugene, who had heard his plans. Enraged, Rick disarms Carter and is about to execute him before deciding to let him go. When the topic is brought up during a later conversation between him and Morgan, Rick confesses that he wanted to kill him; he decided against it, believing that people like Carter, who lack the right mindset, will end up dying anyway.
Later, Rick meets up with Jessie in the armory, in search of a pack of flares for the next day. She admonishes Rick for his behavior towards Ron at the quarry and reminds Rick that Ron will not listen to him due to his grudge against him. Rick offers to teach Jessie how to protect herself using a gun, but she reveals that she had already enlisted Rosita's help for firearm training.
The next day, Rick, his group and the Alexandrians make it to the quarry to enact a dry run of the plan of attack for the next day. As Rick outlines the plan to lure the herd away, one of the trucks acting as a barricade topples over the edge of a cliff, releasing the herd. The plan is put into immediate action, and everyone rushes to their positions.
Over the course of the day, the plan goes accordingly, with the herd being kept at bay down the set path. However, as the groups head further down the road, Carter is grabbed by a stray walker and bitten in the right cheek. Rick rushes to his aid, killing the walker before tending to him. He attempts to keep him quiet in order to prevent drawing the attention of the herd, which is beginning to disperse toward the sounds of his desperate cries, before putting him down with a stab through the neck. He informs the rest of the team about the predicament before moving further down.
As they observe the group leading the herd through the final checkpoint, they hear a loud horn blaring from a distance, drawing the back half of the herd away from the road and towards the Safe-Zone. Alarmed, everyone regroups and frantically rushes back to Alexandria, tailed by the herd.
Rick and the rest of the groups follow the truck's horn in a rush. Daryl inquires about the situation, with Rick informing him of the herd's back half diverting away and towards Alexandria. When Daryl shows an intent on wanting to help get the herd back on track, Rick redirects his focus on the front half of the herd.
Rick reveals that he plans to take the RV from one of the barriers and use it to redirect the loose herd's attention back to the trail. He takes Glenn and Michonne aside and ensures that they are to kill anything that may pose a threat to them. He goes on to explain that the group of Alexandrians that have accompanied them may not have what it takes to make it, and that they must leave them behind should they be unable to keep up. Everyone rushes over to the sound of Barnes screaming as he is devoured by a stray walker. After both he and the walker are put down, Rick searches his body, finding an energy bar and a gun before heading off to the RV.
Rick is next seen running back up the trail, with Glenn informing him of his plan to distract the oncoming herd by burning down a feed store in the town they have come across. He encounters three feasting walkers on the road and kills all three, accidentally slicing his hand on a walker's protruding blade in the process. He continues his grueling run to the barrier, eventually arriving at the orange checkpoint where the RV is situated. He starts up the RV and takes off in the direction of the loose herd's path.
Rick reaches the approximate location of the herd's course and stops in front of a dense forest. He attempts to radio Glenn and Tobin, but receives no answer from either. He then reaches Daryl, who is still on the move towards home, and informs him, Sasha and Abraham to keep moving while the others regroup. He takes a pause before he attempts to contact them again, when a small group of Wolves attacks the RV. Rick kills the two in the vehicle (including the Blond Wolf) and searches the bodies, finding a jar of baby food in one's pocket, sending him into a state of worry. Looking outside, he sees the remaining three Wolves sneaking around the vehicle. Readying his assault rifle, he mows down the three by shooting through the RV's wall.
Attempting to restart the RV to head home, he finds that the engine had been blown out, thanks to a shot fired by the Blond Wolf. Each failed attempt at starting the RV sends Rick into a state of increasing panic, before he hears the moans of the herd as they emerge from the forest next to him.
Rick's voice is heard at the end of the episode shouting for someone to open the town gate.
Rick is seen dashing down the road towards the town gate, screaming for the residents to open it as he is being followed by the herd. He manages to avoid both the herd and the stray walkers emerging from the overgrowth on either side of the road, slipping through the gate with enough time to shut it behind him, keeping the walkers out.
As the residents discuss the current situation, Rick attempts to restore order, urging them to keep bright lights and noises to a minimum to avoid drawing too much attention from the herd. He goes on to assure them that Daryl, Sasha and Abraham will return to lead the herd away, and that any missing members (namely Glenn and Nicholas) will soon make their way back to the community. Rick is also present for Aaron's revelation regarding the reason why the Wolves attacked the Safe-Zone, where he is credited for leading a near-successful mission of moving an entire herd away from the community and minimizing potential risks.
After Jessie gathers the bodies of dead Wolves and Alexandrians to bury in the town graveyard, Rick approaches her and reminds her that "killers" should not be buried within the walls. With the herd pounding on the Safe-Zone's walls, Rick is unable to think of a solution to the problem, other than to wait the walkers out first.
Later during the day, Rick is seen overlooking the herd from the lookout post. He attempts to radio Sasha and Abraham, but receives no response. After hearing Ron call out from below the post, Rick grants him access. Ron informs Rick of Carl's plans to search outside the walls for Enid and of his last whereabouts. Before Rick leaves, Ron calls him back, saying that he had taken his words at the quarry into consideration and showed an interest in learning how to use a gun. Lending his Colt Python, he instructs Ron to choose a target from among the herd.
During the later hours of the night, Rick assists Deanna in killing a turned Wolf. As he helps with cleaning up, Deanna confides in Rick, telling him that she wants the Safe-Zone to stay standing. Rick urges her to lead the community, but she insists that he take the role, believing that he is more needed. Still reeling from earlier accusations made by her son Spencer, Deanna turns to Rick, asking if her vision of the Safe-Zone was a fantasy; Rick insists that it isn't.
Rick later approaches Jessie in her garage, confessing that he had thought that the groups on the road would have returned by that time. She assures that they may still be alive. Echoing her words from earlier in the day, Rick reminds her that their current lifestyles are what the world has now come to. Jessie is hopeful for a brighter future and asks Rick to tell her that there is more. He nods, and the two share a kiss.
Rick is seen walking along the community perimeter, inspecting each panel up and down to check for signs of a potential breach. As Morgan practices his aikido, Rick approaches him and requests that they find the time to talk later before heading back towards the wall, catching sight of a trickle of blood pouring from a small hole. Unfazed, he then joins Maggie at the lookout post as she is searching for signs of Glenn's survival. He attempts to encourage her by reminding her that their group had endured harder situations and had come back alive in the past. Rick then attempts to bring her focus to figuring out how to clear the herd away before Abraham, Sasha, Daryl and Glenn return. Maggie admits to Rick that seeing Judith brightened her up, as she started to look like and reminded her of Lori; Rick agrees, before heading back down to continue inspection.
Sometime later, Rick is seen strolling through the town with Carl and Ron. He sees Gabriel pinning up signs for an upcoming prayer circle near the town's solar panels. Still angered at his prior betrayal, Rick promptly rips down the signs and shreds them, much to his son's chagrin, to which Gabriel responds by silently posting a new one.
After reaching a particular spot near the wall, Rick and Carl begin to teach Ron about how to correctly handle a gun. Once he had taught him the basics of a gun's features, Rick begins to lecture him on the importance of patience when using it to take down a target. Ron requests using the gun with live rounds for practice on the herd outside the wall, but Rick turns him down, reminding him that the walls are strong to a point, and that bunching the herd into one spot could potentially endanger them.
Rick passes Morgan at the infirmary and requests to speak with him. They both head to one of the townhouses and, with Carol and Michonne, discuss his refusal to kill the Wolves that had invaded the community some time prior, with Rick describing his earlier encounter with the five that Morgan had released as he tried to cut the runaway herd off with the RV. As they disagree with Morgan's motives, Morgan counters that those sitting at the table had at some point changed for the better, and he maintains his belief that "all life is precious" as justification for his actions.
"Making it now," Rick challenges, "do you really think you can do that without getting blood on your hands?" Morgan answers that he doesn't know.
Rick and Michonne converse on the porch, brainstorming plans on how to lead the herd away. Michonne attempts to convince Rick to enlist the help of the residents, but he is unsure. Deanna strolls in with rolled-up blueprints of the community and her plans for its expansion and presents them to Rick. Rick tells her that they are worrying about other matters; Deanna persuades him to consider her ideas afterwards, insisting that once their issues are dealt with, there will be an after.
Some time passes and Rick is seen working on strengthening the walls. Tobin strolls by and decides to assist him. As they saw down more planks, Tobin notices the hole in the wall; Rick assures him that it means little as long as the walls hold. Tobin reminisces of when the Survivors had first arrived at the community and the residents' emotions towards them. He notes that the residents were reluctant to change, but builds hope that they will eventually come to realize that it's for the better, telling Rick not to give up hope on them.
As they continue to strengthen the wall, Rick notices Spencer attempting to shimmy over the wall via grappling rope. Rick speeds over to the lookout post and urges Spencer to turn back. The hook starts to give way and Rick, seeing that by this time Spencer was closer to the watch tower the hook was attached to, pushes him on to go forward. However, the hook breaks off and Spencer is sent hurtling down in the midst of the herd. Rick calls Spencer back to the rope while Tara fires at the herd to keep them at bay. Rick, Tobin and later Morgan work together to pull Spencer back up the wall, with Spencer narrowly escaping death.
Once Spencer reaches safety, Rick chastises Tara for endangering her life in his favor before turning back to him. Rick reprimands Spencer for his attempt before demanding that he consult him for any future ideas that he may have. Spencer challenges him, asking whether or not he would have listened.
Rick continues his work at the wall with Tobin, when he sees Tara passing by. He approaches her, apologizing for his earlier actions. Deanna approaches the two, wishing to thank Rick for his part in saving her son. Rick informs her of the stupidity of Spencer's actions and the choices that he made, saying that he could have used Spencer's predicament to his own advantage instead of saving him. Deanna questions him on why he decided against it. He replies that it's due to him being her son. "Wrong answer," she retorts.
Soon, the entire community looks up to see several green balloons floating up in the sky. Maggie runs to Rick, excitedly reporting that it was of Glenn's doing. Shortly afterwards, they observe the old church tower collapse and topple onto the wall, and narrowly escape the destruction.
Rick first appears when the herd breaks through the walls, shouting for everyone to get to their houses. He starts to take out walkers and Deanna comes to join him. A walker tries to sneak up on him but Deanna blocks it and falls on a saw blade, injuring herself. Carl, Ron, Michonne and Gabriel come across them as they all flee. They are then cornered by another group of walkers from the heard ahead of the road they are running on. Jessie then appears, shoots at the walkers and lets them in at her house.
Rick carries Deanna upstairs into a bedroom. When tending to her, Michonne discovers she is bitten which saddens him. He then talks to Jessie about waiting for the herd to thin then heading to the library.
Inside Jessie's house, Rick carries Deanna to an upstairs bedroom. Sam watches, paralyzed with fear. Jessie urges him to be brave. When Ron and Carl begin to fight in the garage, drawing walkers, Rick breaks the lock on the garage's door with his axe to get to his son. They then use a sofa to barricade the door behind them, but it isn't strong enough.
He hears Judith crying upstairs and rushes to check on her, finding Deanna slumped over the crib. Fearing her to be a walker, he pulls out his axe but discovers she is still alive. He lays her on the bed and listens as she explains that all the people in Alexandria are now his people despite his reluctance to accept them. She also gives him notes to give to Spencer and Maggie.
Walkers then begin flooding in downstairs, forcing the group to retreat upstairs and barricade the stairs with the sofa. Rick tells Michonne they're going to need two walkers and kills the first. Explaining his plan, Rick tells the group they need to cover themselves with guts to mask their scent in order to safely walk straight through the herd to the armory. The group, covered in guts, leave the house and start towards the armory.
Rick is seen with the rest of the group as they slowly make their way to the armory. After a length of time, they come to a stop on the side of the street, with Rick proposing a new plan of heading to the quarry to recover their abandoned vehicles, in order to make use of them to draw the herd away. Jessie voices her concern for Judith, and Rick accepts Gabriel's offer of taking her to the church for safety. After Jessie fails to convince Sam to accompany him, the remaining members of the group start to head towards the community gate; their slow trek brings them into nightfall.
As they make their way to the gate, Sam suddenly stops after catching sight of a younger walker amongst the herd. Despite Rick's, Jessie's and Ron's best attempts at calming him down and persuading him to continue, Sam starts to complain, drawing the attention of several walkers who proceed to grab and tear into him. The combined cries of Jessie and Sam draw more walkers to their location, and Jessie is soon devoured alongside Sam. A distraught Rick is forced to snap out of his daze when Carl call to attention his own precarious situation, with Jessie stiffening and preventing Carl from escaping her grasp. Hesitantly, Rick raises his hatchet and begins to hack into Jessie's wrist, eventually severing her hand and freeing Carl.
They both look up to see a vengeful Ron pointing a gun at Rick, who he blames for causing the death of his entire family, before Michonne intervenes and runs Ron through the back with her katana, causing him to tense and fire a shot that passes through Carl's right eye. Carl calls to his father before he collapses, and Rick picks him up before making a frantic dash for the infirmary, with Michonne cutting a path through.
Once at the infirmary, Denise points Rick to the gurney, where he sets an unconscious Carl. He weakly demands that she save him before heading back outside and into the herd, where he lets his rage fly as he hacks into several walkers with his hatchet. Several minutes pass by and soon, Rick finds himself joined by many of the Alexandria residents as they begin a mass clearing of the herd; their teamwork leads Rick to realize that the threat of the herd is manageable. In the distance, they spot a massive fire courtesy of Daryl, and observe the herd heading into the blaze. He commands the residents to spread out, and they continue to kill walkers throughout the night until the next morning.
As the residents rest at the infirmary and observe the lifeless bodies littering the streets, Rick tends to a bandaged and unconscious Carl and laments, admitting that he was wrong about the Alexandrians and that he had seen their capabilities, as well as revealing his plans to expand the community just as Deanna envisioned it. He weeps, begging Carl to experience the new world with him. Initially unresponsive, Carl gently tightens his grip on his father's hand; Rick looks up in anticipation.
Two months following the Alexandria walker invasion, Rick prepares to go on a supply run. Michonne asks him to bring back toothpaste, noting their shortage. They chat with Carl, who now wears a bandage over his eye but seems otherwise recovered from the gunshot. Rick predicts they will finally find food and new people that day.
At the gate, Rick and Daryl are escorted out by Eugene, who hands them a map of the area and informs them of ways of acquiring sorghum to drastically improve their food stocks. As they leave, Rick inserts a CD into the car's stereo and turns the volume up, to Daryl's annoyance.
On the road, Daryl notes that they haven't encountered anyone in weeks. Rick and Daryl spot a sorghum barn and, after a quick sweep, find a truck inside. They open the truck and discover a large store of supplies; Rick proposes they drive the truck and come back for their car later. En-route to Alexandria, Rick and Daryl stop at a gas station to scavenge.
Daryl finds a tipped over vending machine, and they chain it to the truck to flip it over. Rick questions the motives behind this, before a masked man races over and crashes into Rick, prompting Rick and Daryl to pull their guns on him. The assailant introduces himself as Paul Rovia - though his friends call him Jesus - and explains to Rick and Daryl that he was just on the run from "maybe ten" walkers. Rick attempts to ask him how many walkers he's killed, but Daryl cuts him off. Eventually, they decide to let Jesus go on his way. While Daryl and Rick talk about Jesus and whether or not they should follow him, they're surprised by the sound of gunshots behind the gas station. They investigate and discover firecrackers in a trash can. Realizing it was a trick, they run back just in time to see Jesus driving off with the truck, having pocketed Rick's keys, and dragging the vending machine behind it.
Rick and Daryl sprint after the truck and find the vending machine discarded in the middle of the road. Daryl shatters the display case and stuffs orange sodas for Denise and some snacks into his bag. Rick comments to Daryl about how they didn't know Denise and that she came through for them, notably by saving Carl, when referring to Jesus despite later disregarding any trust towards him. Rick and Daryl share a can before resuming their chase.
Eventually, Rick and Daryl catch up with Jesus and hold him at gunpoint. Rick ties Jesus up, assuring him the knots are loose enough to eventually wriggle free, but "after [they're] long gone." Rick and Daryl then drive off in the truck, abandoning Jesus. As they drive across a field, Rick and Daryl hear a sudden noise and realize that Jesus had escaped and is now on the roof of the truck. Rick screeches to an abrupt halt, sending Jesus tumbling to the ground. Rick and Daryl chase after Jesus in the truck, with Daryl deciding to continue the chase on foot while Rick kills nearby walkers.
Jesus and Daryl wind up struggling inside the truck and Jesus accidentally knocks it into neutral, causing the truck to roll into a lake and sink. Daryl begrudgingly agrees not to abandon Jesus, who was knocked unconscious, after Rick points out that Jesus saved Daryl from a walker. As Rick drives them back to Alexandria in another vehicle, Daryl guards an unconscious Jesus in the back seat. Once they reach the gate, Daryl tells Rick that he was right when he once suggested they stop bringing new people into the community. Rick disagrees: he thinks Daryl was right in the first place, reflecting his new found optimism and confidence after the walker invasion two months prior.
Rick and Daryl bring Jesus to the infirmary so Denise can check him out. Later, in the townhouse basement, Daryl and Rick leave water and a note next to Jesus' still-unconscious body. Back at home, Rick wearily flops onto his couch, where Michonne joins him. They exchange details of how their day had gone before Rick informs Michonne that Daryl is guarding a man that they had brought in. He hands her mints from the vending machine in lieu of the toothpaste she wanted.
The two of them talk and laugh together, and then their fingers interlock, which led to them holding hands. They look at each other with what seems to be a newfound kind of affection. They lean in and kiss. Shortly after, they break away, smiling, and continue. The next morning, they're seen lying nude in Rick's bed after sleeping with each other. Jesus is standing at the foot of the bed and tells Rick to wake up. As Rick and Michonne leap up and grab their weapons, Jesus says, "We should talk."
After Jesus is discovered by Carl and several members of the group, Rick and Michonne emerge from the bedroom. Rick, still nude, assures everyone that Jesus just wants to talk. A small meeting is held at sunrise; Jesus tells Rick and the group that he is a part of a community that raises livestock and crops, and his job is to search for other settlements with whom to open trade. He offers to take them to his community, the Hilltop, to prove he is telling the truth.
As Rick packs the motor home for the trip to the colony, he meets with Carl. He attempts to explain his new relationship with Michonne, but Carl assures Rick that he approves of it. Rick then tells Carl to start packing for the drive, but he insists on staying behind to guard Alexandria.
Rick, Michonne, Daryl, Glenn, Maggie and Abraham board the motor home with Jesus. Rick slows the motor home as they approach an overturned car; Jesus recognizes it as belonging to the Hilltop and desperately begins searching the wreckage for his people. Wary of the sudden situation being a trap, Rick has Jesus restrained as he leads a search into a nearby building and manages to find the surviving members of the crash. All then return to the motor home and continue their drive to the colony. Some time passes, and the drive lands the group in a mud puddle, where the motor home gets stuck. Rick acknowledges the problem, but Jesus assures them that they've reached their destination, pointing at a wooden wall over the hill.
The group approaches the colony, where they are greeted by spear-wielding guards. Rick and the others prepare for a firefight, but Jesus manages to calm both sides down. Jesus tells Rick that they can keep their guns and confides that his community ran out of ammo months ago, saying that he trusts them and that Rick should trust them in return. Jesus takes the group inside, where they meet Gregory, the community's leader.
Gregory orders the Survivors to clean up before meeting with him. Annoyed by this, Rick asks Maggie to speak with Gregory on the group's behalf. After Maggie fails to propose a trade, Jesus assures Rick and Daryl that he can convince Gregory otherwise. They hear a commotion outside. "They're back," a resident tells Gregory. The Survivors and Gregory walk outside to meet with a Hilltop team, who had just returned from a mission to Negan's compound.
Rick listens as the team reports that Negan killed two of their group because their drop was too light, and that he's holding another one of their members, Craig, until they deliver a message. Approaching Gregory, one of the members, Ethan, declares, "I'm sorry," before stabbing Gregory in the gut. Seeing this, Rick and the group intervenes, with Rick tackling Ethan to the ground and beating him. Ethan soon gains the upper hand before a momentary distraction caused by Michonne allows Rick to stab Ethan dead. Recovering, Rick turns to the astonished residents, confused. Jesus calms everyone by pointing out that Ethan had initiated the bloodshed.
Later, Rick and the group attend a meeting with Jesus and learn more about Negan and his group, The Saviors, and the deals made between the Hilltop and the Saviors to trade supplies in exchange for protection. After hearing of the atrocities committed by the Saviors, the group offers to take care of them for the Hilltop to prevent further torment, as well as bring back Craig.
Rick and the group load the motor home with supplies from the Hilltop. Rick asks Andy, who had been one of the Hilltop's liaisons with Negan, to brief them on the Saviors' compound. Once everyone had boarded, Rick speaks with Michonne, telling her that this is a fight that they will have to win. The group then leaves the Hilltop and returns to Alexandria.
Rick arrives back at Alexandria and assembles a town meeting at the church. He explains their current affiliation with the Hilltop Colony and that to honor their deal to them laid out by Maggie is to exterminate The Saviors. Morgan objects to the plan of simply killing them in cold blood, to which Rick accepts, though with some reluctance. However, Morgan's objection isn't echoed by anyone else at the meeting which causes Rick to accept that the matter is settled. "We kill them all", Rick declares.
During a meeting, Rick has Andy create a sketch of the Saviors' compound and coordinates a plan to infiltrate it, kill everyone inside and take the food, weapons and other supplies back home. After the plan is set, Andy says that the Saviors want the head of Gregory to ensure that he is dead, to which Rick responds, "We're gonna give it to them."
The next day, the Survivors caravans down the road. After they sound the horns on their vehicles to attract any nearby walkers, he orders everyone to separate on foot and reconvene in a couple of hours. Rick tells Father Gabriel that there's no turning back from the mission now, and Gabriel agrees, declaring with confidence that he will not retreat. Rick asks why he's still wearing his priest's garb; Gabriel replies that he believes that he is still who he was and jokes that "it'll be harder for them to see me in the dark." The two men share a laugh.
After a while, Rick suggests that they wait until just before dawn to strike. Carol chastises him about bringing Maggie along and pleads harshly that she stay behind and help protect her. Rick agrees.
When Glenn and Heath return with multiple walker heads to use against the Saviors as potential Gregory decoys, Rick, Jesus and Andy inspect them to determine which head resembles Gregory the most. Jesus becomes picky and says the nose of the closest resembling head is different to Gregory's. Rick responds by punching the head's nose, disfiguring it, and tells Andy to say that he broke Gregory's nose in a scuffle, insisting he use his injured hand as further proof. Rick notes Andy's uneasy expression; he explains that "The Saviors, they're scary, but those pricks got nothing on you."
That night, after Andy gives the Savior guards the imposter head, one of them goes and gets Craig in exchange. Daryl comes out of the shadows and kills the other guard and Rick assists in dragging the body away. When they enter the compound, Rick quietly kills multiple Saviors as they sleep by stabbing them in the head. After one of the Saviors spots Abraham and Sasha and manages to hit the fire alarm, causing the rest of the Saviors to wake up, Rick begins to start firing his rifle at every Savior he encounters. He kills multiple members and helps the group clear out the compound.
At sunrise, the group reconvenes outside; Rick watches as Tara and Heath drive away in an RV. Michonne ponders which of the men inside was Negan, which makes Rick pause and contemplate. Suddenly, a lone survivor of the massacre revs up a motorcycle, which is shown to be Daryl's from Alexandria, and tries escaping. When the Savior is taken down, Rick holds him at gunpoint. The Savior's walkie-talkie crackles to life and a woman's voice comes through, asking the group to put their guns down and singling out Rick's Colt Python. Rick picks the walkie up and asks the person to come out and talk, but is shocked to hear that whoever is speaking has captured Carol and Maggie.
Rick is shown from the perspective of Carol and Maggie as Paula reveals to him via the talkie that they have captured Carol and Maggie. He proposes they trade hostages, but Paula deems it "unfair" and declines. Later on, after Carol and Maggie escape, Rick and the others arrive with Primo. Rick vigorously questions Primo about Negan, and Primo reveals that he is (apparently) Negan, similar to Molly's response to Carol that the Saviors are "all Negan". "I'm sorry it had to come to this", Rick says before he unceremoniously executes Primo, .
Rick is only seen in the beginning of this episode. Morgan lays the final brick in a jail cell that he built in the brownstone basement. Rick comes by and asks Morgan why he built a cell. "It'll give you some choices next time," Morgan says as Rick overlooks the cell.
Rick is first seen in bed with Michonne sharing an apple from the Hilltop. Michonne gets dressed so she can help Glenn and Maggie beef up security. She tells Rick that Maggie is worried about an attack, but Rick assures her they'll be able to handle any Saviors. "The world's ours and we know how to take it," he declares.
Tobin arrives at Rick's and shows him Carol's farewell note. They convene with Sasha and Abraham at the gate and deduce Carol took a car and snuck out during shift change. Morgan leaves to go after her and Rick accompanies him.
Rick and Morgan follows Carol's tire tracks east. Rick asks why Morgan wants to help find her when he barely knows her, to which Morgan replies that he got to know her. He admits his world view is not "right," and that there are only wrongs that don't pull you down. Rick says nothing is pulling him down, and Morgan replies that it will.
Rick and Morgan arrive at the scene of the shootout. They find Carol's car, but no sign of her. Rick puts Jiro down and notices one of the Hilltop's spears amongst the bodies, deducing the men were Saviors. Rick applauds Carol's ability to take down the group, commenting that she's "a force of nature" and reminds Morgan that sometimes you just have to kill in order to survive when the latter reprimands his approval. They follow a blood trail leading into a field. Rick comments the Saviors were close to Alexandria, and that by attacking their compound, they hadn't ended the threat like he previously thought. Morgan agrees, stating they have started something instead.
Morgan notes Rick banished Carol after she killed two of their people back at the prison and asks what Rick would do if it happened today. Rick answers that if that situation happened today he would thank her or do it himself. Morgan makes the argument because Rick spared Carol's life, she was able to return later and save them at Terminus. "People can come back," Morgan says.
Rick and Morgan encounter an armored man at a farm overrun with walkers, whose supposed inhabitants have been murdered. Rick orders the man to drop his weapon, but he says he's only looking for his horse and flees. Rick fires at the man, but Morgan intervenes. Rick guesses the man was a Savior based on his weapon, but Morgan insists they had no way of knowing who he was. He confesses to Rick he kept a Wolf captive during the attack on Alexandria. Rick seethes, but Morgan explains how the Wolf later saved Denise from walkers - and Denise then saved Carl. Morgan vows to find Carol on his own and tells Rick not to come looking if he doesn't return. Rick hands Morgan a gun and heads back.
Rick returns to Alexandria and learns from Abraham that Michonne hasn't returned yet. Staring at the gate, the two share their fears over getting close to someone again. But, Abraham says, "I think I'm that much more ready to tear the world a brand new asshole." Rick smiles and nods.
Rick is first seen loading the RV in preparation for a trip to the Hilltop, where they will seek medical assistance for Maggie. Sasha, Abraham and Eugene join him, but he is initially reluctant on allowing Aaron to accompany them, only relenting when Aaron insists that he can only be stopped if Rick were to punch him again. Rick then receives an update on the various safety measures implemented in the case of an attack by Gabriel. After Spencer inquires whether or not they should attempt to make a deal with the Saviors should they arrive at the gates, Rick tells them to wait until they return, as he has a deal planned.
As the RV makes its way towards the Hilltop, Rick comes to Maggie's bedside, assuring her that the doctor at the Colony will be able to help. "As long as it's all of us, we can do anything," he says.
The RV comes to a halt after a small group of Saviors is spotted blocking the road. Rick and the others step out in the hopes of settling the confrontation with a deal. The lead Savior demands that the Survivors hand over their belongings, explaining that they may need to kill one of them. Rick declines, claiming that his group were in fact going to ask the same of the Saviors, only he does not plan on killing "any of [them] - any more of [them]". As the two groups part ways, Rick turns to Simon, asking if he wants to make that day his last day on Earth. Simon rebounds the question, adding that Rick should be "extra nice" to his group, should their days be numbered; Rick tells him to do the same before departing.
Taking an alternate route to the Hilltop, the group come across another blockade with more Saviors. Seeing that they are outnumbered, Rick tells Abraham to turn the vehicle around in search of another route.
On another road, the group encounters yet another roadblock - this time, however, the road is obstructed by a line of walkers chained together. As the group exits to investigate, Aaron notices that one of the walkers is sporting two of Michonne's dreadlocks, while Sasha notes that another walker has Daryl's crossbow bolts embedded in its chest. As Rick goes to clear the blockade, several Saviors fire at the group from the surrounding treeline. Rick quickly cuts the chain, freeing the walkers, and the group dispatches them before piling back into the RV and driving on.
On the road again, Rick notes that the Saviors were only firing at their feet, coming to the conclusion that they wanted them going in this direction. Aaron informs Rick that Maggie's fever is worsening, further stressing him. They soon come across another massive roadblock, this time consisting of almost forty Saviors, forcing the group to turn once more. A notably worried Rick sits by Maggie's side, assuring her that the Saviors are gone. "I believe in you, Rick," she says.
Further down yet another route, the group come across another roadblock made of fallen trees. As the group set out to investigate, the Saviors' captive survivor seen at the very first roadblock is hanged from an overpass. Rick prevents Aaron from shooting the chain around the survivor's neck, saying that they need to conserve ammunition, and all watch in horror as the survivor chokes to death. The log blockade erupts in flames behind them, before Simon reminds Rick of their earlier conversation, remarking that it may be the last day on Earth for one of his people. This entire display disturbs the survivors further, and the group returns to the RV and hastily drives away.
As the survivors debate their next move, Eugene points out that the Saviors are most likely looking for the RV and may not expect them to travel on foot. After nightfall, Rick and Eugene go over the plan: Eugene will drive the empty RV to lure the Saviors while the rest head straight for the Hilltop. Before the two part ways, Eugene hands Rick a recipe for crafting bullets, in the event that he gets killed. Rick, overcome with disbelief, smiles and thanks him, saying that they are lucky to have him as part of the group.
As the survivors trek through the woods, Rick and Abraham carry a very weak Maggie on a stretcher. Suddenly, whistles are heard coming from every direction. Realizing that the group is surrounded, Rick orders them to run. In the darkness, the group unknowingly ends up back on the road, where they find themselves enclosed by a massive group of over 100 Saviors, with the RV parked a few meters away and a captured and beaten Eugene already on the ground, blood streaming down his face.
Simon approaches the group, again asking for their weapons. Defeated by the realization that he had fatally misjudged the true threat and force the Saviors represent, a fear-stricken Rick attempts to calm the situation by attempting to discuss the predicament, which Simon quickly shuts down, declaring that the time for talking is now over and that he is simply required to listen. All are forced to their knees and deprived of their weapons, before Daryl's search party (consisting of Rosita, Daryl, Michonne and Glenn), who had all been held in a nearby van, follows suit. Once all have been lined up, their leader is called out.
Stepping out of the RV, Negan observes the entire group, inquiring about their leader, to which Simon points out Rick. Negan introduces himself to Rick, before expressing his extreme distaste for the actions that the Survivors had taken against the Saviors. He goes on to explain the "new world order", telling Rick and the group that they now work for him and that further resistance would only cause Rick and his community to endure further hardship. He announces that, as punishment for the loss of several of his men at the hands of the Survivors, he is going to "beat the holy hell" out of one member of his group, introducing Lucille, a baseball bat wrapped in barbed wire, as his weapon of choice.
As he paces up and down the line-up, Negan deduces that Carl is Rick's son and begins to taunt him. In desperation, Rick roars out for him to stop, only to be shut down by Negan. Initially undecided, Negan begins a game of "eeny, meeny, miny, moe" in order to randomly pick out a survivor to carry out the punishment on, eventually settling on one member of the group. As Rick and the others begin to protest, Negan threatens to have Carl's remaining eye cut out and fed to Rick should anyone try to interfere with the beating, before bringing the bat crashing down on the survivor's head, drawing blood. Rick can only kneel and watch as the chosen member of his group is brutally beaten to death.
After Negan beats his victims to death, Rick threatens him, saying that he will kill him someday. Unfazed, Negan begins taunting Rick regarding having a right hand man and how important having one can be. As Rick seethes, Simon hands Negan Rick's hatchet at his request. Holstering the weapon, Negan then grabs Rick by the shoulder and drags him along the ground towards the RV, declaring that if he returns without Rick, then the Saviors have permission to dispose of the entire group. Once in the RV, Negan taunts Rick, stating that the best chance he has at killing Negan is to take the hatchet from the table and kill him in the RV. Rick attempts to do so, but it stopped as Negan reveals that he has a rifle.
Negan drives through heavy fog and smoke; taunting Rick about the blood spatter walkers leave behind on the windscreen. "Remind you of anyone you know?". Through montages, Rick recalls fond memories of Rosita and Glenn. Negan brings the RV to a stop and it is promptly surrounded by walkers. "You are mine. The people back there? They are mine. This? This is mine," he explains to Rick. Negan then throws Rick's axe up onto the RV's roof, ordering Rick to retrieve it. Rick is still in shock and doesn't immediately move. "Get my axe," Negan demands, pointing Lucille at Rick's face. Rick gets up. Negan pushes him out the door. Rick recalls memories of Sasha. As Rick fights walkers through a thick morning fog, he recalls memories of Eugene, Aaron, Abraham, Maggie and Daryl. He climbs to the top of the RV and sees Negan has parked the RV at the smoldering wall of logs the Saviors previously used to block their path. The Library Survivor left hanging on the overpass has now turned. Rick thinks about Michonne and Carl then begins to break down as Negan says that Rick and his group will never have a bright future.
Lying atop the RV in agony, Rick relives the horrific event that occurred mere moments before.
In a flashback, Rick along with the rest of his group helplessly watch as Negan chooses his victim, Abraham. When Daryl attacks Negan for taunting a devastated Rosita, Rick shouted for him to stop, to no avail as Negan had already been struck by Daryl. He again watches helplessly as Negan retaliates and kills, Glenn.
In the present, Rick lies on top of the RV, axe next to him, crying as comes to terms with Glenn and Abraham's horrific deaths. From inside the RV, Negan shoots through the roof to hurry Rick up. Rick grabs the axe and jumps off the roof, grabbing onto the walker hanging from the overpass. He drops the axe in the process. Walkers swarm and grab at Rick's feet. Negan opens a window and shoots most of the walkers clawing for Rick, but then the hanging walker's body detaches from its head, dropping Rick into the herd. Negan once again orders Rick to get the axe.
Rick finds the hatchet and makes his way back to the RV, while envisioning the remaining group remembers being struck by Lucille. Before he can be completely overwhelmed, Negan opens the door of the RV and shoots the walkers around Rick so he can get inside. Once inside, Rick reluctantly hands Negan the hatchet. "Atta boy," Negan says, then starts the RV again. Negan drives the RV back to the clearing where the Survivors awaits. He cleans the bloody hatchet and tells Rick that while Rick may no longer be in charge he can still live a productive life providing for him before handing Rick back his weapon: "I think you're gonna need it. I've just got a feeling!".
Negan pushes Rick out of the RV and drags him back to the rest of his group. He explains to Rick that the purpose of the drive was to change the way Rick sees him. However, Negan notes that Rick is still glaring at him defiantly despite all that has happened. Believing Rick still hasn't submitted to him, Negan orders his men to put their guns to everyone's heads, aimed to line with their noses to cause maximum mess, and calls Carl over to him. After finding out Carl is not left handed, he wraps his belt around his arm as a tourniquet and tells Carl to lie face down on the ground. He draws a line on Carl's arm and presents Rick with an ultimatum: Rick must cut off Carl's arm, or everyone will die, including everyone in Alexandria. Rick is horrified. Michonne pleads with Negan, explaining they now understand his new world order. Negan agrees that the others may get it, but Rick still doesn't.
Rick begs Negan to let him take Carl's place instead to which Negan refuses. Impatient, Negan starts counting down from three. Rick continues pleading and begins to wail. "Dad... Just do it," Carl whispers. Anguished, Rick brings up the axe, but Negan stops him at the very last second. "You answer to me, you provide for me, you belong to me, right?" he demands, slapping Rick. "I provide for you," Rick agrees, totally broken and a nervous wreck. Satisfied at the broken look on Rick's face, Negan relents.
Negan tells Dwight to put Daryl back in the van. He explains to Rick that Daryl now belongs to him and if he ever tries anything else, he will force Rick to mutilate Daryl. "Welcome to a brand new beginning, you sorry shits!" exclaims Negan to the shattered group. He leaves a truck with the Survivors so they can transport the goods they are to produce for him. He says he will return for their first offering in one week and leaves with a mocking "ta ta", while leaving the hatchet behind.
The Survivors reels with shock and grief as the Saviors leave. One Savior takes a polaroid photograph of Glenn's body. Eventually, Maggie struggles to her feet. Rick tells her that they need to get her to Hilltop's doctor, but she insists they all head back to Alexandria and prepare to fight. Rick counters, saying the Saviors have Daryl now, and an army, and they will all die if they go after Negan. The group insist on continuing to Hilltop but Maggie demands they do not follow her. Sasha volunteers to go with Maggie, instead. "I'm taking him with me," Maggie says in reference to Glenn. She crouches next to Glenn, sobbing, then hugs Carl. The group gathers around Maggie, begging her to let them help her. "He's our family too," Rick says of Glenn. Maggie relents and lets them move the body.
Rick remembers Negan's words to him: "Bet you thought you were all going to grow old together. Sitting around the table at Sunday dinner and the happily ever after. No. Doesn't work like that, Rick. Not anymore". As these words echo in Rick's mind, he envisions an idyllic scene. His group peacefully eats dinner together at an outdoor setting in Alexandria. At the head of the table is Glenn, holding his toddler son. Abraham sits next to him. The two share a meaningful, happy look.
Rick prepares to head back to Alexandria. He picks up his axe as a walker approaches, but he ignores it and gets in the RV. Rick glances in the side view mirror as he drives away. He sees the walker dropping to the ground and eating the leftover blood remains of Glenn and Abraham. The episode ends on a closeup of Rick's broken eyes.
Rick and Michonne lie in bed, back to back. Rick quietly watches as she leaves the house with her katana and a rifle. Later, he picks up Judith from her crib.
Rick meets Negan at the gate and notes that he came earlier than planned. Negan strides into Alexandria and thrusts Lucille into Rick's hands.
Rick tries to check in with Daryl, whose face is swollen and bruised, but Negan forbids Rick or any of the Alexandrians from speaking to him. Rick tells Negan that they already set aside half of their supplies, but Negan says he'll be the one to decide which supplies to take.
Negan inquires about Maggie's whereabouts. Before Rick can answer, Gabriel approaches and asks if Negan wants to pay his respects. "She didn't make it?" Negan asks. Rick says nothing but shakes his head hesitantly. Gabriel leads Negan to the graveyard where Glenn, Abraham and supposedly Maggie are buried. Negan rues Maggie's death, saying he'd planned on asking her to join him as his wife at his compound. Rick quietly seethes with anger and tightens his grip on Lucille, but swiftly relaxes. Moments later, they hear a gunshot.
In the infirmary, Rick and Negan find Carl pointing his gun at David. Rick begs his son to lower the gun. Carl finally complies after Negan threatens to harm more people and as a precaution, Negan declares that he's confiscating all the guns in Alexandria.
Negan tells Rick he'll leave their food untouched to ensure that they remain strong enough to collect for him. Negan commands Rick to thank him, but Rick refuses. Negan says that Rick is the one who forced his hand and that is why he should thank him. Negan asks if anyone keeps guns outside of the armory. Rick assures him that all their guns are kept in storage.
Rick calls a meeting with the residents of Alexandria in an attempt to locate the missing guns. Eric asks Rick how he plans to get them out of this situation. Rick emphasizes that there's no way out; Negan is in charge. He asks if anyone has the guns as Negan will kill Olivia if he doesn't get them. Eugene notes that some people are absent from the meeting.
While Rick, Gabriel and Aaron search Spencer's house for the missing guns, Rick commends Gabriel on his Maggie ruse with Negan earlier at the graveyard: "It was quick thinking. Thank you." Gabriel is optimistic that they will prevail in the end, despite Rick's insistence that there is no way out. Rick then finds the missing guns stashed in the floor air vent of Spencer's house, along with stolen food and liquor.
Rick brings the missing guns to Negan. As the Saviors prepare to leave, Rick sees Michonne lurking in a dilapidated house nearby. Rick asks Negan if he can give him a second. Negan refuses and Rick rephrases and says "Please can you just give me a second." Negan permits Rick to speak with Michonne.
Rick tells Michonne that he knows about her secret rifle and that he knew that she was using it for target practice sessions. He urges her to hand over the rifle, arguing that more people will die if the Saviors find an Alexandrian with a gun.
Rick gives Negan Michonne's rifle, making up a cover story for her saying she was out hunting. Rick then goes on to ask if Daryl can stay in Alexandria, since they've followed the rules and gave Negan half of their supplies. Negan asks Daryl if he wants to stay. Daryl remains obediently silent.
Negan refuses to leave Alexandria until Rick thanks him. "Thank you," Rick concedes. A walker approaches and Negan turns to kill it. Rick once again tightens his grip on Lucille as he contemplates killing Negan, but decides against it. Negan retrieves Lucille and The Saviors leave with half of the Alexandrians' belongings, and Daryl, in tow.
Rick closes the gate and chastises Spencer for hoarding supplies saying that he is small, weak and that he has gotten lucky. Spencer says they should've made a deal with Negan when they had the chance; he then blames Rick for Glenn and Abraham's deaths. Rick threatens to break Spencer's jaw and knock his teeth out if he says anything like that again.
Rick spreads blankets on the bedroom floor at home, mentioning that the Saviors took most of their mattresses. Michonne assures Rick that she doesn't have any more secret guns. She reminds him that they've survived as long as they have because they always fight back, but Rick says there are too many Saviors -- "it's about the numbers." Michonne mentions the Hilltop, but Rick says that even with the Hilltop, they're still outnumbered. He reveals his thoughts on Judith not being his daughter, and he learned to accept that in order to keep her alive. He tells Michonne that she has to learn to accept their situation with Negan -- they all do -- or it won’t work. "This is how we live now," he says.
Rick prepares to go on a run to scavenge supplies for their weekly offering to the Saviors with Aaron. Rick tries convincing Carl to join him and Aaron on a supply run for The Saviors, but Carl refuses to bow down. Rick tells Michonne they're heading north for the supply run, handing her a walkie talkie in case she changes her mind. They kiss and go their separate ways.
Rick and Aaron emerge from a box truck having stopped there to rest for the night. "We didn’t see that last night," Aaron says, looking at something on the road.
Rick and Aaron approach a gate with a sign: "Keep going, only thing here for you is trouble." Feeling the pressure of only having one day left to find supplies, they hop the gate. They soon encounter another warning sign; this time, the writer threatens to shoot anyone who comes for his food, supplies or ammo. They move past the sign and reach a pond filled with walkers. They see a dilapidated houseboat floating in the center of the pond.
At the walker-filled pond, Rick and Aaron find a canoe riddled with bullet holes. They jump in and start rowing towards the boat in the middle of the pond. Aaron is pulled underwater but manages to escape and swim to the houseboat. Rick docks the canoe and Aaron helps him on to the boat.
Rick and Aaron rummage through supplies on the houseboat. Aaron finds a note with a drawing of a middle finger: "Congrats for winning, but you still lose." Back on shore, they houseboat to shore truck with the supplies. Rick mentions how Michonne feels about their deal with the Saviors, that it isn't living. They finish loading the truck and prepare to leave, unaware that someone is watching them from across the pond.
Rick and Aaron arrive at Alexandria and are surprised to be greeted by Saviors. They inspect the goods that they brought back and Laura finds the note that Aaron found previously. David accuse him of disrespecting them, and Laura holds Rick at gunpoint as Aaron is beaten by David and Gary. Once they are finished, Rick helps Aaron to his feet. They hear a gunshot and race over to where Negan is. They discover that Spencer and Olivia have been murdered by the Saviors. Rick yells at Negan that they had an agreement, but Negan tells Rick about how Carl infiltrated the Sanctuary and killed two of his men and that Spencer tried to have Negan kill Rick so he could be put in charge, and also about Rosita's assassination attempt. Rick then tells Negan to take the supplies and leave upon being explained the situation. Negan agrees to go as soon as he learns who made the bullet. Tara falsely confesses to making the bullet, but as the Saviors turn their guns on her, Eugene steps up and tearfully admits it was him. Negan in his frustration asks Lucille to give him strength then angrily says that Rick's finds are not good enough after today. Negan and his crew leave with Eugene in tow. Spencer begins to reanimate. Rick angrily stabs him in the head.
That night, Rick is in the basement cell when Michonne turns up. She informs Rick that there are more Saviors than they thought, but that they should still fight, for Judith, for Carl, for Alexandria and the Hilltop: finally motivated, Rick agrees "For all of us." "I know that now," and they kiss.
Rick and some of the others arrive at the Hilltop and reunite with the others. Rick tells Maggie that she was right from the beginning – they have to get ready to fight. Daryl and Jesus come out to greet them, and he and Daryl share a hug. Daryl then presents Rick with his Colt Python that he retrieved from Fat Joey. Together, they all stride towards the mansion.
Rick, along with the rest of the group, attempts to convince a stubborn Gregory to mobilize The Hilltop for war with the Saviors. He denies Rick's attempt to bargain with him and fight the Saviors. He tells them their previous agreement is null and void. "We aren't trade partners," he says in addition to ruling out any other connections. He is called out by Jesus for his cowardly behavior and for not helping save the community when Maggie and Sasha did.
Rick insists the group can win and questions how Gregory wants to live. Gregory insists his people don't want to help. Gregory constantly denies the group and sends them out. Rick says they don't need him for the war, then Enid comes by and tells them to come outside. Upon stepping outside of the mansion, a group of Hilltop residents, including Bertie, Wesley, Andy, Freddie and Eduardo, offers to join the fight against the Saviors. Rick is glad to see a group of Hilltop citizens volunteering to fight the Saviors. Rick states that more soldiers will be needed to take on the Saviors and their many outposts.
Jesus tells Rick about The Kingdom, and that a possible alliance may be forged with them. Jesus leads the Survivors to a decayed parking lot. Richard and another Kingdom guard, Alvaro, arrive on horseback. Jesus makes introductions and explains that they have similar interests. After some hesitation, Richard invites them to follow him. Richard, assuming Rick is interested in becoming a trade partner, confides in Jesus. He stresses their need to battle the Saviors. Jesus assures Richard that he has good news. Rick and the group arrive at The Kingdom, where they are received by King Ezekiel after reuniting with Morgan. Rick is fascinated, yet very cautious at the sight of Shiva, the Kings tiger. Rick offers the plan of an alliance against the Saviors, "Alexandria, the Hilltop, and the Kingdom. All three of our communities have something in common. We all serve the Saviors. Alexandria already fought them once and we won. We thought we took out the threat.", he continues pleading his case and reveals his knowledge of Ezekiel's pact with the Saviors, which Ezekiel ponders heavily. Ezekiel reprimands Jesus for telling Rick about his deal with the Saviors. They plead their case; in the process, Richard urges Ezekiel to fight the Saviors before things get worse,
Ezekiel insists he needs time to think about all of this. Rick tells Ezekiel about a story his mother told him as a kid. On the way to the Kingdom, there was a rock in the road. People would hit it and lose their wagons and such. A little girl's family hit the rock and lost their supplies. The girl sat there and cried and wondered why the rock was still there to hurt someone else. She dug at that rock in the road with her hands until they bled and used everything she had to pull it out. When she was going to fill it up, she saw a bag of gold. Jerry loves the ending of the story. Ezekiel offers the group to stay the night and declares he will give his answer in the morning.
The next morning, Rick walks around The Kingdom, and remarks that the numbers of The Kingdom will be a huge help in the war against the Saviors. Ezekiel announces that he will not go to war with the Saviors, stating that previous attempts of expansion and fighting has gotten people killed, leaving children parentless and loved ones devastated. However, he offers Daryl asylum within the Kingdom walls. Rick departs The Kingdom with the group. Rick explains to Richard that they don’t have the numbers to take out even one outpost. Richard realizes it's not just about the numbers; they're making the Saviors stronger every day by providing food, weapons and supplies. Rick urges Daryl to stay behind, stating that the Saviors will be looking for him and that he will be safe in The Kingdom, since the Saviors are not allowed inside the walls.
While driving back to Alexandria, the group is stopped by a road block set up by the Saviors. While clearing the roadblock, the group discovers dynamite and other explosives rigged on a wire, a trap set up by the Saviors to deter any passing horde of walkers. The Survivors hear Negan's voice over the walkie, giving a fond eulogy to Fat Joey. Negan finds that Daryl has escaped and dispatches a search party to Alexandria. As Rick helps the others remove explosives, he notices a giant herd approaching. Rick tells Jesus and Sasha to head back to Hilltop, while he and Michonne climb into the two cars the wire is attached to. They drive forward into the herd, using the wire to cut down hundreds of walkers, buying the group some time to escape. Rick and Michonne shove their way through the herd and back into the groups car. As they drive away, Rick sits exhausted while Michonne assures him that they can defeat the Saviors.
Upon returning to Alexandria, Simon arrives with a large squad of Saviors, looking for Daryl. The Saviors trash most of Alexandria in their search for Daryl, but eventually give up after not finding him. Simon warns Rick that if they ever catch Daryl hiding in Alexandria, he will be killed and Rick will have to chop Carl's arm off and that the next supply pick-up is nearing. Later Rick investigates the disappearance of Father Gabriel. He finds in a notebook that Gabriel left the word "Boat". Rick and Aaron automatically recognize this as the boat they got supplies from a few days back. The group travels there, and follows footprints into a junkyard, where they are ambushed and quickly surrounded by a large group of armed people. Rick looks into the group of people with a smile on his face.
Rick meets the junkyard group's leader Jadis. Rick asks to see Gabriel, knowing they kidnapped him from Alexandria. Gabriel is brought out. Rick tells the woman that if the survivors are killed, the Saviors will be deprived of their tribute, and come looking for what's theirs. He tries to recruit her group to fight against the Saviors, but Jadis says no. A fight breaks out between the two groups. Gabriel holds a Heaps resident, Tamiel, at knife point. Gabriel explains that the Scavengers can take the Saviors’ food and weapons if they help defeat them.
Jadis takes Rick for a walk. To prove his worth, Rick is forced to fight a walker covered in metal armor and steel spikes. He impales his hand on one of the spikes and injures his leg but is able to defeat the walker. He makes a deal with Jadis, he will bring them guns and they can have a third of what is won when the war is over as well as half of the supplies they took from the pantry. He goes back to the others with a smile on his face and tells them they have a deal, and he and Michonne hug.
Later, Gabriel explains to Rick that he was jumped and the woman was angry because she didn’t get the supplies from the boat. He said he hoped Rick knew what he meant by boat and Rick credits him for getting them there. He asks Rick why he was smiling, and Rick tells him that someone showed him enemies can become friends. He and Michonne agree to go out looking for guns once he has been patched up. Before they leave, he grabs a cat statue and gives it to Michonne to replace the one she lost.
Out in the woods, Rick and Michonne scavenge for guns to fulfill their deal with Jadis. Rick notes that one of their walkies needs batteries. In the van, Rick and Michonne arrange the few supplies they've collected. Later, they come across Saviors golfing in a field. They spot batteries in the Saviors' truck.
Back in the van, Rick powers up the dead walkie using the stolen batteries. Michonne suggests they return to Alexandria, but Rick convinces her to keep scavenging for another day and a half.
Rick wakes up as Michonne grabs a gun from the van to follow a deer she spotted. He joins her and they discover an abandoned school. They bang on the fence, and the sound attracts a gun-bearing walker in combat uniform. After dispatching the walker, Rick inspects some shell casings on the ground and guesses they are about to find some "serious guns."
Rick and Michonne climb onto the waterlogged roof of the school to get a better view. They find the grounds decked out with carnival rides and swarming with walkers — all equipped with guns. "I think this is it," says Rick. As they take in the scene, he wonders if they'll be able to take out all the walkers. Suddenly, the roof below them caves in and they fall through. Rick and Michonne land on a bed, and burst out laughing at their immense luck. As they examine their surroundings, they see a large pile of boxes, each filled with canned goods and other supplies.
Rick and Michonne open the crates and discover an abundance of non-perishable food rations. That night, they feast inside the school gymnasium. As they talk about the impending war, Michonne urges Rick to lead the communities after they defeat Negan. Rick suggests they take another day or two before heading back home.
Later, Rick sits awake while Michonne sleeps.
The next day, Rick and Michonne formulate a plan to close a gap in the perimeter fence and kill all the walkers. Rick shifts an abandoned car into neutral and they roll it toward the gap. The brakes fail. A walker with an automatic slung across its shoulders gets caught in some rebar; the trigger of the gun is caught in the metal, causing it to fire at Rick and Michonne. The car eventually comes to a stop and walkers swarm it as they escape via the roof.
Rick and Michonne split up in order to divide the herd. While fighting walkers, Rick spots the deer and climbs the Ferris wheel to get a good shot at it. The ride can't bear his weight and he falls. He shoots at walkers as they start to close in on him. Michonne runs over to help but thinks Rick has been killed. She freezes in shock, when suddenly Rick lunges out from the carnival ride and starts taking down walkers. He throws Michonne her katana and they kill the entire herd. Michonne jumps into Rick's arms and they hug.
As Rick and Michonne gather guns from the school grounds, he sees her crying in the distance.
As they drive back to Alexandria, Rick pulls over. He warns her that they're going to lose people in the fight against Negan, possibly each other. He tells her it will be worth it, because it's not about them anymore; it's about the future. He asks her to lead the group if he doesn’t survive.
Rick and the others deliver 63 guns to Jadis. She demands nearly twice as many. Rick insists on keeping 20 guns to help them in their search for more. Jadis agrees.
Back in Alexandria, Rick asks Tara if she's seen Rosita, who didn't show up for guard shift. Tara says she has something to tell Rick.
After Tara tells Rick about the arsenal at Oceanside, they lead a group of Alexandrians to the distant community. Rick helps Michonne climb a tree and asks if she's good – she replies she's good enough.
Later, the Survivors set off the explosives near the Oceanside walls. They are able to round up the residents and Rick assures them that he doesn't plan to hurt anyone but they have something they need. Natania appears, holding Tara at gunpoint. Cyndie tells her people that the Survivors wants to fight the Saviors. Beatrice suggests they join the fight but Natania refuses to lose more people to the Saviors.
Michonne warns Rick that walkers are approaching. The Survivors and the Oceansiders work together and take down the walkers. Beatrice hands Rick his knife back and they shake hands. Natania angrily concedes and allows the Survivors to take their guns but she remains adamant that they won't fight.
The Oceanside residents watch the Survivors leave with their guns. Gabriel wonders whether they need to take all the guns. Rick insists it's necessary.
The Survivors returns to Alexandria late at night and Rosita opens the gate for them. She leads them to the jail cell, where Dwight is waiting. Rick and Michonne hold Daryl back as he charges at Dwight. Rosita insists that he wants to help them, and Rick asks if that's true. Dwight says it is. Rick points his gun at Dwight and orders him to kneel.
Rick and the group interrogate Dwight in the cell. He insists he's on their side and presents his plan to take down Negan. Rick and the others agree to his plan and as he heads back to the Sanctuary, Daryl tells Rick he will still kill him once this is all over.
The Scavengers arrive at Alexandria and Rick greets Jadis inside the gate. She asks if he and Michonne are together before crudely propositioning him in front of a bewildered Michonne.
A Scavenger alerts everyone in Alexandria to the Saviors' arrival. Rick assumes his position at the front gate with Jadis crouching by his feet, hidden from view as Negan's caravan arrives. Eugene steps out and tries to convince Rick to surrender. Rick hesitates, stricken by Eugene's betrayal, then gives Rosita the signal to detonate the explosives. Rosita pushes the detonator, but there is no explosion. Before Rick can reach for his gun, Jadis leaps up and aims her gun at Rick. Simultaneously, the Scavengers all turn their guns on the Alexandrians. Negan emerges from a truck and taunts Rick as his Saviors open the truck that holds the explosives.
Negan's men remove a coffin from their flatbed; he announces that Sasha is inside, alive and well. He offers to let her live if Rick turns over all their guns – and Daryl. Even then, Negan will still execute one Alexandrian of Rick's choosing. Rick insists on seeing Sasha. Negan opens the coffin door and Sasha, now a walker, attacks him. The Survivors takes advantage of the ensuing chaos and turns their guns on the Scavengers. Rick tries to join the fight, but Jadis holds him at gunpoint. He attempts to make another deal with her but she shoots him in the side and pushes him off the platform.
Jadis leads Rick to Negan and orders him to kneel beside Carl, who is surrounded by over a dozen Saviors. They look on in horror as a body plummets to the ground from Michonne's balcony post. Negan vows to kill Carl and cut off Rick's hands as punishment for Rick's collusion. Rick swallows his fear and furiously reiterates his pledge to kill Negan, regardless of the threats he makes. As Negan prepares to strike Carl with Lucille, Shiva leaps onto and begins to maul a nearby Scavenger. Negan and the Saviors scatter as Ezekiel, Carol and The Kingdom arrives. Rick reaches for a gun as a nearby Scavenger is gunned down by Maggie, who has arrived with the Hilltop fighters. Rick and Carl join the fight. Rick manages to take out at least four Scavengers.
A Savior goes for Rick, but Morgan strikes him with his staff and kills him. The two men nod as they fight alongside each other. The fight is hectic, and numerous Saviors and Scavengers are gunned down. The joint communities successfully push their adversaries back. The Scavengers release smoke bombs and escape in the haze, scaling the walls and running out the gate on foot. Negan and his men escape in their vehicles being bombarded with gunfire. Before leaving Negan gives a defiant middle finger to his attackers. The battle is over; it is a victory.
Rick and Carl rush to where Michonne was last seen, and find Farron's dead body on the ground. They discover Michonne inside, badly beaten and barely conscious. Rick gently embraces her.
Rick holds Michonne's hand in the infirmary.
Maggie proudly tells Rick that she was not the one responsible for the events which saved Alexandria; it began right at the start, when Glenn made the decision to save Rick in the tank in Atlanta. It was that heroic choice that paved the way for everything to come.
Rick, Maggie and Ezekiel stand on a podium and address the crowd as the leaders of their respective communities: Alexandria, the Hilltop and the Kingdom, united and ready for an all out war.
Rick sits alone with a rainbow reflection flashing across his face. Rick stands atop a truck with his gun. At another time, Rick stands beside Glenn and Abraham's graves at the Hilltop, lost in thought.
Rick stands atop a truck, rallying the army. He tells them that Jesus told him that his world was gonna get bigger, "It's ours by right," Rick said. Rick's speech continues, saying they will offer peace to anyone who can find common ground, but they will end anyone who takes and kills to make their world theirs alone. He vows to stop the Saviors and kill Negan, the only one who truly has to die. Maggie and Ezekiel echo Rick's sentiments.
In the future, Rick sleeps in bed. His beard is full and white. Flowers sit on a nearby table. Hearing music, he wakes. In the present, Rick appears and chases away Siddiq, who was talking to Carl, with a gunshot above his head. He was supposed to meet Carl at the intersection. Carl is frustrated by his dad's shooting but Rick insists he could be a Savior and he intentionally missed. Rick hopes he lives, but Carl tells Rick that hope will not be enough in their struggle against the Saviors. Carl walks off and Rick looks to the side, seeing a little girl in a pink robe walking towards him, directly reflecting the first scene of the first episode.
Elsewhere, Rick analyzes the paper and takes a breath. He is on top of the Alexandria walls, watching everyone load the cars. Gabriel asks him if he is ready in 30 minutes. "It always starts with one person," Gabriel tells him. "This did." Rick insists this is not about him. "Yes, it isn't. You made it like that," Gabriel replies. Rick kisses Judith on the head goodbye. He sees Michonne for a heartfelt goodbye with a long kiss. He then takes Carl's hat off and hugs him before leaving. "This is the end of it," he tells Carl. The cars roll out as Rosita watches from the porch recovering from her bullet wound.
En route to the Sanctuary, Rick comes across a lone Savior on watch; he stabs the man and sifts through his belongings. The injured Savior taunts Rick, telling him that he will kneel again before the Saviors, and that his son will die. Angered, Rick frees a walker tethered to a nearby electric post and leaves it to feast on the dying man. He then signals the caravan to proceed.
The caravan arrives in a large field, where members of all three communities are waiting, leading to the moments which saw Rick, Maggie and Ezekiel's rallying speeches. Rick and Aaron talk about their preparations, as do Jerry and Enid, while Rick, Maggie, Ezekiel, Jesus, and Gabriel talk. Maggie is in her second trimester. Other Militia members mingle and mill about the clearing. Maggie insists on joining the initial phase of the fight, despite being pregnant. Ezekiel offers to let Maggie see the Kingdom's doctor, but Jesus assures him they'll retrieve Harlan Carson, who was previously taken by the Saviors. Rick vows to relinquish leadership and follow Maggie after the fight is over.
The Survivors guns down two sniper lookouts at the Sanctuary as Dwight nonchalantly walks inside. The caravan arrives at the front gate, parking in formation to create a wall with the metal sheets retrofitted onto each vehicle. Maggie gives the signal and the group raises their guns toward the sky, shooting in unison. Negan steps out with his lieutenants. In the future, light plays across Rick's face. He looks up at a stained glass window. White-bearded Rick gets out of bed and finds Michonne in the dining room of their Alexandria home. He walks over to her with his cane, a noticeable limp in his stride. Carl joins them.
Rick calls out everyone on the balcony and requests Regina introduce herself. Eugene tries to talk but Rick shuts him down. Rick tells Negan's lieutenants, Dwight, Simon, Gavin, Regina and Eugene, that he will let them live if they surrender. No one accepts his offer. Negan wonders if Rick is going to kill him and Rick insists he is. He told him twice already. Negan tells Rick that he lacks the numbers to win a fight against the Saviors. At Negan's command, Simon brings Gregory outside. Gregory declares that the Hilltop stands with Negan and the punishment for fighting against the Sanctuary is banishment for the offenders and their families. "The Hilltop stands with Maggie!" Jesus shouts.
Simon pushes Gregory down the stairs after deciding he's no longer useful. The explosion is heard at the Sanctuary. Rick tells Negan's lieutenants to make up their minds; he begins firing when they don’t respond. Negan's crew runs for cover in different directions. The Survivors continues firing, blowing out the Sanctuary windows. The herd approaches, drawn by the explosion. The Survivors continues to spray bullets at the Sanctuary, then retreats to their cars for evacuation.
Gabriel positions the RV in front of the Sanctuary fence, and exits as it continues slowly moving forward. Rick uses the garage door opener to detonate the explosives in the RV, successfully breaching the gate. Negan takes cover behind a vehicle, as Rick continues firing at him. Gabriel urges Rick to evacuate. Before he goes, Rick uses an instant camera to snap a picture of the scene. Rick leaves as the herd closes in on the Sanctuary;
The Survivors waits for Gabriel at their rendezvous point. Rick tells Daryl that Gabriel stayed behind to save him, but they can't wait for him any longer. Daryl signals the group to get back in their vehicles. They prepare to enact the next phase of their plan. At a second Savior outpost, Daryl and Rick shoot a guard and enter the front gate.
In the future again, Judith, now a child of 6 or 7 years old, runs up to white-bearded Rick in the kitchen. They walk to the porch and see people setting up a festival across the street.
Lights dance on Rick's face. He says to himself, "My mercy...prevails...over my wrath", chuckling.
Rick concludes his speech to the unified communities. He urges them to fight for tomorrow, assuring them they've already won. The crowd cheers, ready for battle.
Rick fades into the screen. He is in the woods with Daryl. With the assault on the Satellite Outpost taking place, another assault occurs simultaneously at a Savior outpost located in a town hall. While the firefight occurs outside, Rick, Daryl and three others enter the building from another direction, silently taking out the two guards. While the others stay behind to watch for Saviors retreating inside from the courtyard, Rick and Daryl go from room to room searching for the weapons armory.
In the office building, Rick scrutinizes the layout provided by Dwight. Upon rejoining with Daryl and having swept the ground floor, they deduce that the weapons, including 50 calibers, must be upstairs.
Rick and Daryl arrive on the second floor, and Daryl expresses doubt that Dwight's instructions were accurate, but Rick points out that they have been so far. He tells Daryl that they will use the heavy artillery to take out the Saviors in the courtyard below, bringing a swift end to the battle. They split up.
Meanwhile, Rick finds a large living space, with a neatly kept bedroom. As he tries to break into a locked room, he is attacked by a Savior. The two grapple on the floor, the man pins Rick to the ground and repeatedly punches him in the face, but is forced off. They exchange blows and the man knocks Rick's gun away when he draws it. Rick finally gains the upper hand, kicking the man repeatedly before grabbing him in a headlock and demanding the location of the guns. The Savior denies the presence of any firearms, and as he is chocked out, an exhausted Rick throws him against a spike on the wall, impaling him.
In the office building, Rick retrieves keys from the dead Savior's pocket, and enters the locked room. Inside, to his shock and horror, he finds a decorated child’s room, and a baby named Gracie, no more than a few months old, asleep in a crib. Realizing that he had killed the infant's father, Rick reels in disgust and dismay.
Rick comes across another living quarter in the office outpost, and discovers an old family photograph of the Morales family, which seemingly startles him. Just then, a man comes up behind Rick and holds him at gunpoint. As he turns, Rick is astonished to see Morales, alive and well, and clearly hardened by survival. He acknowledges Rick, who tells him that he was in Atlanta. Morales retorts that it was a long time ago, and firmly tells Rick that it is over; he reveals that he has called the Saviors back. A stunned Rick is at a loss for words.
Rick is held at gunpoint by Morales who orders him to disarm, realizing that he is the "Rick from Alexandria" the Saviors had been told about. He calls Rick a monster, and reveals that Negan has ordered Rick, Maggie, and Ezekiel be kept alive if possible. He questions Rick's motives and angrily tells him that the Saviors will settle the score.
Rick inquires of Morales' family, and he reveals that they never made it to Birmingham and his family died not long after they left the rest of the group. Morales refuses to accept Rick's sympathy even when he reveals some of the many people he has lost too, like Lori, Shane and Andrea. Rick recounts Glenn's horrific death at the hands of Negan, and how he met Maggie in the apocalypse, much to Morales' surprise.
Morales tell him that he lost his mind after his family died, and that on his way north, he was found by the Saviors, giving him a sense of purpose since they saw value in him. Thus he declares himself to be "Negan" too, and tells Rick that they are the same; two assholes ready to do whatever is necessary to survive. He taunts Rick when he tries to reason with him, asserting that "Officer Friendly" died with the others. Just then Daryl arrives behind Morales and fires a bolt through his face as he turns around, despite Rick's protests. Rick tries to explain how they both knew Morales, but Daryl says he knew fully well who he was and that them knowing each other in a past life now meant nothing given their current circumstances. Daryl asks if he found the guns, and Rick replies in the negative. As they prepare to leave, the surviving Saviors from outside attack.
Rick and Daryl are pinned down as they fire shots against the remaining Saviors. They are on the cusp of running out of ammo. Rick shoots a fire extinguisher, creating cover to take out the Saviors at close range as Aaron and the Militia arrive with supporting fire, killing the remaining Saviors.
The battle at the office outpost is over; it is a victory of the Militia. Numerous reanimated Saviors are put down. Rick takes polaroid photographs of the carnage. Wounded Militia soldiers are transported away in a pickup truck and the dead are prepared for burial. Rick retrieves Gracie from the building, and Aaron volunteers to take her to the Hilltop since he planned to go there with Eric after the battle to inform Maggie.
Rick and Daryl prepare to part ways, with Rick intending to talk to the Scavengers alone. Daryl tells him if he's gone long, he'll come for him. Then, they take fire from a lone Savior, Todd, hiding behind a tree. Rick negotiates his surrender by promising his safety if he tells them where the missing heavy guns are. He gives the man his word. Todd, injured from the battle, cautiously emerges and tells them the M2 Browning 50 caliber machine guns were moved to Gavin's outpost to the west, the day before. Todd then asks if he can leave, Daryl suddenly shoots him dead, much to Rick's shock. He remarks that Ezekiel's forces are at Gavin's outpost.
Rick and Daryl chase the two escaped Saviors as they make a hasty getaway with the guns in tow. One of the Saviors mans begins firing at the two, managing to cause Daryl to swerve off the road. Rick stays on their trail. Yago evades walkers on the road, throwing off the other Savior's aim and causing him to stumble. As he regains his position and continues to shoot at the other truck, Rick veers to the side, allowing Daryl, who caught up with the pursuit, to open fire on the Savior, hitting him several times and apparently killing the man.
Rick manages to catch up to Yago's truck and jumps on board, stabbing him in the gut and pushing him out of the vehicle before crashing it on the side of the road. Daryl arrives at the scene and meets up with Rick as both contemplate the condition of the .50 cal machine guns. They approach the truck to check on the remaining Savior.
Rick and Daryl are first seen by a field where they chased Yago to get the guns, they go investigate if Yago is still alive, they interrogate him. He tells Daryl and Rick that the Saviors and Kingdom fighters at the chemical plant were killed, except for Ezekiel, Jerry and Carol. As a result, he promises everyone in the Survivors is going to die before he succumbs to his injuries and dies. Rick stabs him in the head.
Rick and Daryl are next seen grabbing dynamite out of the boxes, Daryl suggests they blow a hole in the Sanctuary so the walkers flood the place, Rick rejects the idea, worried it would endanger the innocent workers and their families. Daryl keeps suggesting it, as he walks off, Rick stops him, telling him to stick to the plan, but Daryl says "it's not your choice" and they have their own people to look after, that's when Rick and Daryl begin the fight, as Daryl holds him in a choke hold, but Rick throws the bombs at the truck, causing the truck to start on fire and eventually explodes just as the two were running from it. They sit and watch it burn, disappointed, together.
Back on the road, Rick tries to start his truck but it's no good. Daryl pulls up on his bike. "There's a plan," Rick said. "We gotta win," Daryl insists. Rick says he’ll meet Daryl after he executes the final step of their plan. He asks Rick if he still going to talk to the Scavengers, he says he will.
Rick and Daryl split up and Rick travels to the Heaps to confront Jadis and the Scavengers. In spite of their betrayal and alliance with the Saviors, it appears that Rick wants them back on his side to assist in finishing off the Saviors. As Rick walks down a road, he sees a helicopter in the sky. He continues on his way, his confusion growing. Rick arrives at the Heaps and the Scavengers become aware of his presence.
As Rick makes his way to the Scavengers, he opens a microwave on the street and retrieves letters left inside by members of the Militia informing him of their current situations just as he did. He learns that the Hilltop has taken Saviors from the Satellite Outpost as prisoners and is reaffirmed of the Kingdom's losses. Rick's letter to the other communities tells them of his group's successful raid and to remind them to stick to the plan to boost morale and reports that their plan is working, walkers surround the Sanctuary and their snipers are standing guard to make sure no one escapes; meanwhile, conditions are worsening for those inside. He explains that he's on his way to execute the next stage of the plan and will meet everyone at the Sanctuary in two days to end this.
Arriving at the Heaps, Rick lets the Scavengers take him to Jadis and strip him of his weapons. Jadis asks Rick if he's alone to which he confirms. Rick states that despite her betrayal and having the choice to easily take over the Heaps with his new numbers, he's decided that both groups need each other and attempts to offer her a better deal than what the Saviors offered. He shows the Scavengers Polaroids of their attacks against the Saviors as proof that his militia is formidable and reaffirms of their goal to create a brighter future free from Negan's tyrannical rule. Rick says that the Scavengers can be a part of that future too depending on their decision, threatening to destroy them if they don't cooperate. Asking Jadis where she stands, she rejects his offer and has Rick stripped of his clothes and imprisoned.
Walking in Rick's boots, Jadis marks the letter "A" on the container where Rick is imprisoned as he looks out through a peep hole.
Rick sits in the dark container, thinking to himself, when the doors are opened. Jadis stands outside with a camera. Rick informs her that his proposed deal still stands. Jadis begins taking photos of Rick's nude body at different angles. When questioned, Jadis responds that she intends to use the photos as references for a sculpture she plans to create of him, before the container doors are shut again.
Rick is brought out from the container by one of the Scavengers, who drags him to the center of the Heaps. He is forced to his knees, before Jadis and another Scavenger present a lightly armored walker as their method of execution. Rick is able to free himself and fight off the two Scavengers with the rod used to hold the walker - the sudden jerking motions with the rod cause the walker's head to become detached from its body. Knocking out the Scavengers, he then fights off Jadis, who makes several attempts to shoot him, before holding her on the ground in front of the walker's head. He asserts to the surrounding Scavengers that regardless of what happens, he will leave the Heaps to regroup with his people and, due to their rejection of Rick's deal, they will attack the Scavengers at some point in the future.
Jadis signals her people to stand down. She inquires Rick on what will happen if the Scavengers accept the deal. Rick relates the plan to have the Saviors surrender and Negan killed. The two quietly argue over what they will receive after the war before they reach an agreement.
Rick leads the Scavengers to the outer perimeter of the compound. Walking in, he finds one of his snipers dead, being devoured by a small group of walkers. Dispatching them, he calls through the walkie, but no one responds. He takes the rifle and climbs the water tower. He looks towards the front of the Sanctuary, but finds an abandoned garbage truck, an open door and no walkers in sight, alarming him.
Rick first appears on top when he is visibly shaken up. He tries to contact the snipers surrounding the Sanctuary but gets no response. Rick marches with the Scavengers leading them to The Sanctuary. They get ambushed, and The Scavengers flee, leaving Rick behind. Carol and Jerry come in a car and pick up Rick. As they drive away, the three decide to split up.
In a flashback, Rick and Carl talk about meeting Siddiq and Carl tells Rick he needs to do more than hope. Rick and Carl continue to talk, and Carl tries to convince Rick that the fighting is about more than just killing Saviors. He wants peace in the long term. "Finding some way forward? That's part of it. That's how it's gotta be." Carl says.
Rick later enters Alexandria to find it in flames and ruins. He goes to look for Michonne, Carl and Judith. In his house, he finds Negan and the two get into a fight. Negan tries to hit him with Lucille, but Rick manages to escape multiple blows. Negan accuses Rick for not raising Carl the right way and that he's going to "fix" Carl, making him one of his top guys in a few years and express not killing Rick soon and makes sure he doesn't defy him again. Rick gains the upper hand by grabbing a piece of metal and striking Negan in the face, knocking him on his back. He grabs Lucille and begins hitting Negan with her, which enrages him to the point he is able to knock Rick back. Rick grabs his gun from the floor but is unable to draw it quickly enough as he gets pushed out a window, before fleeing down the road.
Rick finds Michonne slashing a Savior to death, and he stops her. She takes him to the sewer where everyone is hiding. Judith and Carl are both safe in there with everyone else from Alexandria. Rick finds Dwight amongst his people, resting against a wall. Though Rick appears surprised to see him, he continues on without a word. He is also shocked to find Siddiq in the sewers with the rest of the survivors. Carl reveals that he brought Siddiq there and reveals a bite on his torso and Michonne drops to her knees. Rick and Carl look at one another, completely lost. Carl is infected, and there is nothing anyone can do.
In the future, Light dances across Rick's face, he says "My mercy prevailed over my wrath" , chuckling, as tears stream down his face. In the, now apparently, dream sequence, a white-bearded Rick and Judith chat amiably with Jerry in a peaceful Alexandria.
Back in the present, Carl shows his bite wound to Rick and gives him the stack of letters that he wrote to the group. Carl is becoming weaker. Rick sits by his side in disbelief with Michonne, the group is devastating around them as Negan causes explosions outside. Rick tries to find words. "I don't..." Rick starts. "How?" Carl explains that his bite was not the Saviors' fault and that it happened while he was helping Siddiq.
Carl lays down on the cot with Michonne's help. Siddiq offers some anti-inflammatory's to help with Carl's fever. They helped his mom and dad. Michonne nods to Rick, so he takes them. "You're a doctor?" Rick asks. Siddiq explains that was a resident before the world fell. Carl says he brought him back only because "he needed us," rather than because he was a doctor. An explosion causes dust to fall on Carl and he starts coughing. Rick shields him and gives him water. Rosita suggests they all flee to the Hilltop while the Saviors destroy Alexandria above ground. Dwight points out that the Saviors will soon run out of ammo and insists they stay put until the siege is over.
Carl urges Rick and Michonne to stop fighting the Saviors. They hear silence above ground. Daryl and Tobin resurface to confirm that the Saviors have indeed left Alexandria.
In the future again, Rick continues to shed tears as a rainbow reflection hits his face. In the dream sequence, he greets Eugene with Judith. He offers Judith an apple and they're grateful.
Rick insists on staying in Alexandria with Carl, who won't make it, while the rest of the group travels to the Hilltop. Daryl takes Judith so that Michonne can stay with Rick and Carl. Rick asks for Michonne's help carrying Carl out of the sewer. Meanwhile, Alexandria burns as Rick and Michonne carry him across a field. Carl is getting weaker. Rick insists Carl will make it to their house. Michonne suggests bringing him to another building. Rick and Michonne lay Carl down in the church. Carl expresses remorse over killing a boy when they lived in the prison. Rick tries to absolve Carl of his guilt over the boy's death. Carl points out how easy it was to kill another human being.
Carl explains that Rick's decision to stop fighting and welcome survivors into the prison was instrumental in shaping him. “It can be like that again,” he tells Rick. Rick reminds Carl that the war against the Saviors is different than their situation at the prison, but Carl resolute that they can't kill all of the Saviors says that "there's gotta be something after". Carl describes his vision for a peaceful future in which the older, white-bearded Rick resides with Judith in a flourishing Alexandria. Rick promises to make Carl's vision come true.
Carl's last breaths are coming. "I'm sorry I couldn't protect you," Rick said. "A father's job is to protect his son." Carl insists it's just love. Carl reaches for his gun and insists on shooting himself before he dies. He tells Rick and Michonne that he loves them. Rick tells Carl he loves him and kisses him. Rick and Michonne wait outside the church, where they hear a solitary gunshot. Rick and Michonne bury Carl's body in the Alexandria graveyard.
In the future again, Rick sits besides a tree in a big open field and cries with blood on his hand beside the object which was causing a rainbow reflection on his face.
Rick and Michonne continue to mourn Carl. Rick hangs Carl's Beretta on his grave marker and ponders before taking the gun back and holstering it. Rick finds a dead Savior and acquires his walkie-talkie. Michonne steps away to put down walkers and tries to keep them in the gate while Rick hovers over Carl's grave. He takes the gun back and the two head for their house.
Michonne finds the handprints Carl left on the porch with Judith. She then notices the herd getting closer. Ultimately, Michonne tells Rick they need to move on while he is in the house packing. They're loading the van and see the gazebo burning down, electing to run over and put the fire out in memory of Carl, who used to sit on its roof.
As the two prepare to leave the sanctuary in the van, Michonne notices one of the gazebos burning, lamenting that Carl used to sit on the roof. She and Rick take fire extinguishers and attempt to stop the burning, but are forced to escape from an onslaught of walkers and leave the burning structure. They drive away from Alexandria, with Michonne taking one more look at the plaque hanging outside the gate.
Rick, showing concern, asks what is going through Michonne's mind. Michonne proposes they stop to read Carl's letters, but Rick refuses, still grieving. To her surprise, Michonne finds a letter addressed to Negan. Despite betraying him twice, Rick reveals his plan to talk to Jadis and sway her back to the fight, knowing that since she and the Scavengers were witnessed following Rick into the Sanctuary, they have become targets themselves.
They arrive at the Heaps, but find themselves trapped inside after triggering a trap, causing a large pile of garbage to fall and seal the door. Rick and Michonne desperately dig at the trash pile as the reanimated corpses of the Scavengers begins flooding in toward them.
Rick and Michonne fight through the zombified Scavengers before they are forced up a mountain of trash. They find Jadis at the top, dressed in mourning and speaking clear English. Asked for a way out, Jadis simply directs them back where they came from.
Jadis confides in the pair, recounting how she used to visit the junkyard in search of crafting materials before the apocalypse, as well as how her community formed a home and a life of tranquility out of what was formerly a sea of garbage. Rick, however, blames her people's current fate on her. Rick grabs a discarded car door and fashions a weaponized shield out of it. Jadis insists on joining them, but Rick rebuffs her, deciding she's of no use to him anymore.
Rick and Michonne push through the incoming walkers, putting down several with their shields before resorting back to their weapons. They manage to clear out enough garbage to open the exit. Jadis catches up to the pair, desperately seeking a way out. Rick points his revolver in her direction before turning his hand up and firing, warding her off. Jadis manages to squeeze out from the herd as they try to overwhelm her. Rick witnesses her sprint down a separate alleyway before leaving.
On the road to Hilltop, Rick explains to Michonne that it was not his intention to kill Jadis, but rather to drive her away. Michonne draws similarities from this to Carl's words before his passing.
Rick stops the van on the side of the road, having to take a break to collect himself. He picks up Carl's letters and the walkie before leaving the vehicle and traversing to an open field. Taking the letters, he singles out his own, as well as Negan's, reading both. After a pause, he makes contact with the Sanctuary, asking for Negan. Hearing his voice on the other end, Rick reports his son's death, much to Negan's obvious shock and grief. He reveals the contents of their letters, Carl wishes for the both of them to end their war and make peace. Rick, however, believes that peace is now impossible to achieve and he is still going to kill him.
Negan asks if Carl's death was of the Saviors' doing, but Rick angrily denies this, explaining that he died trying to help someone. Negan reveals his sincere remorse, expressing that Carl represented their future, but also iterates that Carl's death was because Rick, in leading the revolt against the Saviors, was not present to keep Carl safe from doing something that would bring harm to himself. Negan asks who's next to die, Rick angrily tells him. "You are."
Negan condemns Rick's decisions and insists that he stop the war, lest he lose more of his loved ones and have to live with the fact that they died fighting a losing battle. He explains that all of his losses could have been avoided had he just submitted. Negan deems Rick a failure as both a leader and a father and implores him to surrender, seeing that the war has caused him to lose more than he has gained and warns him to give up because he already lost.
Although unseen, Rick arrives at the Hilltop with Michonne.
Rick and Michonne arrive at Hilltop and they're greeted by everyone. Rick sees Saviors in the prison before taking Judith from Barbara. Later, Rick is kneeling over Glenn's grave. Daryl joins him and he apologizes to Rick for attacking the Sanctuary behind Rick's back. Rick forgives him and assures him that he's ready to fight Negan despite Carl's death. They decide to join a team of lookouts scattered around Hilltop. He goes on to thank Daryl for getting everyone to Hilltop.
Rick watches the road from a parked car. He spots Negan's convoy and reaches for the horn to alert the others, but decides at the last second to go after Negan on his own. Rick rams his car into Negan's then pursues him down city streets. Negan comes to in his overturned car, which is covered in walker guts. Rick approaches and shoots at Negan, who uses the car for cover.
Negan escapes into an abandoned building with Rick hot on his heels. Inside, Rick continues firing at Negan but quickly runs out of bullets. He throws his hatchet at Negan and narrowly misses. Negan falls off a landing and dangles from the ledge by his fingers. Rick grabs his hatchet and chops at Negan's hands. Negan plummets into the basement.
Rick hunts for Negan in the basement. He discovers a barricaded storage room full of walkers. Negan makes Rick an offer: If Alexandria, Hilltop and the Kingdom fall in line, they'll only be required to send the Saviors a quarter of their supplies as long as Rick works at the Sanctuary as a janitor. Rick retorts that Negan lost his credibility after the Saviors killed all the Scavengers. Negan reels at the news of the massacre. Rick finds Lucille on the ground.
Rick tells Negan he has Lucille. Negan angrily tells Rick not to touch her. Rick sets Lucille on fire and bashes the barricade to the storage room, busting it open. Negan charges at him.
Rick swings at Negan. Meanwhile, walkers flood out of the storage room and attack. Negan tackles Rick, grabs his beloved bat and escapes. Rick chases him through a window. He runs outside and finds Negan gone.
When the Saviors attack the Hilltop, Rick arrives during the battle to provide cover fire as they enter through the gates. Rick kills several Saviors with his gun and hatchet. Rick runs into Siddiq and Tobin and tells them to stay low.
They manage to drive the Saviors out and Rick and Maggie run after Simon, Dwight and the Saviors as they escape in their vehicles. Rick tells Maggie that he saw Negan earlier in the day and tried to kill him, but failed.
Hilltop cleans up in the aftermath of battle. Rick pulls planks off a bedroom window. Michonne tries to talk with him and offers to clean his wound, but he insists on cleaning up. She starts to help him and he explains to her that he went after Negan and had to try to kill him when he had the opportunity yesterday.
On the Barrington House's steps, Siddiq offers to treat Rick's wound and tries to console him about Carl's death, but Rick angrily shuts him down and walks off. During the night, Mayhem breaks out as the walkers suddenly attacks. Rick, Michonne, Ezekiel, Jesus and Siddiq fight back. Rick, Morgan and Daryl kill the remaining walkers. They notice that the walkers were all their people.
Walker Tobin attacks a Hilltop resident. Carol wrestles him off and ends him. She informs Rick, Daryl and Maggie that Tobin wasn't bitten. Rick recalls that Negan's bat was covered in walker blood, leading them to realize that the Saviors used their weapons to infect them. Bruce realizes he is infected by the wound on his arm and asks someone to end his misery. Rick and Daryl inform Tara. Having been wounded by a Savior arrow, Tara accepts her fate.
The next morning, Rick and Maggie watches Jerry and Jesus bury more bodies in the graveyard. Rick walks away, feeling remorse that his actions to go after Negan have caused more people to die.
Rick is seen in his room, lost in thought. Michonne enters, offers Rick to read Carl's note, but he doesn't read it. She realizes he hasn't read Carl's note to him yet. Michonne urges him to confront his emotions and read Carl's letter to him, but Rick cannot bring himself to do it. Rick stays in the room alone, emotional. He pulls out Carl's note from a drawer.
Rick sits with Judith, watching her play. He sees his old Sheriff hat, which was given to Carl and becomes emotional. He takes out his brown coat and he wears it and decides to chase down the escaped Saviors.
Rick asks Alden where he thinks the Savior escapees might take shelter. Back to the Sanctuary is Alden's best guess. Rick questions how he would get back there. Alden suggests Rick check out a nearby dive bar, but implores Rick to bring the Saviors back to Hilltop instead of slaughtering them.
Rick and Morgan run into one another in the woods. Morgan menaces Rick with his fighting stick, momentarily forgetting who Rick is. Rick reminds him that he knows him. "I'm not right," Morgan says as he lowers his weapon. They're both out here for the Saviors and Rick tells him they will go after them together. Rick and Morgan find a severed arm and foot with visible walker bites. Someone knocks Rick out cold.
Rick comes to finds himself tied up next to Morgan in an abandoned dive bar. Jared and the Savior escapees deliberate about what to do with the Saviors who have fallen sick. Jared insists they ditch the dying Saviors and deliver Rick to Negan. Rick gives his word that he will not harm them if they return to Hilltop. Jared refuses to believe him while insisting that they kill Rick and Morgan and press on to the Sanctuary, but Evan and a few others seem to seriously consider Rick's offer. Morgan tells Jared he only came here to "kill every last one of you." Jared puts a gun in Morgan's face but he smiles and tells him to prepare for the herd coming.
The herd approaches after Morgan's screams. Jared is about to kill them, but another Saviors pushes him and cuts the rope keeping Rick and Morgan's hands behind their backs. A Savior tosses Morgan his stick. Together, he and Rick take down walkers. At one point, a Savior saves Rick from getting bit. Morgan and Rick, however, quickly come up with a plan to kill all of these Saviors and do. Evan angrily attacks Rick and tries to take his hatchet, but is subsequently pushed away by Rick into the path of oncoming walkers, who devour him alive. Jared, however, is escaping. Morgan chases him down and he kills Jared by locking him behind a gate and watches him get devoured.
A dying Savior reminds Rick that he had given his word not to harm them. Rick coldly says that he lied and kills the Savior. As he and Morgan are about to leave, Rick asks Morgan why he decided to save him back in Atlanta when they were strangers. He attempts not to answer, but Rick insists on knowing why, Morgan says it was because his son was with him. Rick then looks at himself though a mirror, and sees what he has become.
Rick and Morgan return to Hilltop covered in blood. Exchanging a look with Rick as he walks inside, Alden realizes that Rick killed all of the escaped Saviors. In his room, Rick gets dressed and stands alone for a moment. He walks toward his dresser drawers and looks to the note Carl wrote for him.
Michonne enters the room and sees him. He thanks her and apologizes to her, but she says he doesn't have to. They proclaim their love for each other. They share a kiss and stand together. She exits and he sits down with Carl's note, bracing him as he finally reads it for the first time.
Rick rereads his letter from his deceased son, Carl. In the note, Carl reminisces over the cherished memory of a childhood birthday party. Those memories of the world before the outbreak are the types of experiences he wanted Rick to bring back into the world. He urges him to find peace with Negan, start over and help to rebuild a peaceful society.
Later, when Gregory makes it to Hilltop with map given to him by Dwight and is re-imprisoned, Maggie gives Rick the map so he and his allies can study Dwight's notes.
Rick and his allies prepare to launch their offensive against the Saviors. In the midst of events, Rick has a flashback to a day before the apocalypse that Carl alluded to in his last letter to him, where he and a young Carl hold hands walking down a country road. Rick goes to tend to Gracie and encounters Siddiq. Rick asks how Carl was bitten; Siddiq tells him how Carl was bit while honoring Siddiq's mother, someone he never knew.
Later, Rick and the group review and prepare to leave to investigate the Savior plans, which had been previously delivered by Gregory on behalf of Dwight. However, they are unaware that Negan planted these as a ruse to entrap them. After losing it, Rick suggests to Morgan that he stay back, but Morgan vows to finish the Saviors.
Rick leads a scout team to spy on Lance and Duke's group as they set up a road block. They ambush and kill Lance's group and finds the map, unaware that it's a decoy. Rick radios Maggie with the new ambush location indicated on the map. Following the map, the Survivors witness a massive walker horde in the distance and continue on.
Rick's army advances to the ambush spot. Whistling begins just as it did on the night Glenn and Abraham died. Negan reaches Rick via walkie to explain that the Survivors is trapped. Negan and the Saviors appear on the crest of a nearby hill in a massive line and open fire, but their guns malfunction. The bullets explode in their hands, killing many Saviors. As the Survivors moves in, the remaining Saviors willingly put down their arms and surrender.
Rick pursues Negan to a tree where two stained glass windows hang; one of Rick's shots fractures one. Negan attacks Rick with Lucille and the two melee until Negan gains the upper hand. He tells Rick he'd wanted to kill him back when they first met, but couldn't do it in front of Carl. Rick says there can be another way and convinces Negan to hear him out for Carl's sake, that there could be a peaceful future for both of them. Negan seems to be listening and starts to tear up. With Negan's guard down, Rick uses a shard of broken glass to slice Negan's throat while the combined groups watch from a distance.
After a moment of thought, Rick tells Siddiq to save him, much to Maggie's anguish who wants to see Negan dead for killing her husband, Glenn. Michonne restrains Maggie as Rick tells the gathered people that they will start a new world, living in peace. He points to the massive herd in the distance and declares that they must unite to fight the walkers, the real threat. After the group departs, Rick falls against the tree, and tearfully says to himself, "My mercy prevails over my wrath".
Eventually, the survivors regroup back at their various communities. In the infirmary, Rick and Michonne explain to a recovering Negan that he will spend the rest of his life in a cell while he watches their community thrive.
In a flashback, Rick puts his sheriff's hat on 3-year-old Carl as they walk down a country road. In the present he writes a letter to Carl, thanking him for reminding him who he is, and attributes the new world in his honor.
- Main article: Rick Grimes (Onslaught)
A couple of weeks after the All Out War against the Saviors concluded, Rick stops by the Heaps to speak with Morgan and try to persuade him to move back home to Alexandria. However, he is unsuccessful and Morgan remains living alone in the Heaps before eventually leaving Virginia.
A year and a half has passed since the end of the War.
In a rebuilt and thriving Alexandria, Rick, now with shorter and grayer hair, happily watches Michonne paint with Judith. They go outside the walls to see a flock of birds in the field.
Later that day, Rick and the group go to the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C., to search for a covered wagon and farming equipment. Inside, Rick tells everyone to be safe and the group separates.
In the basement, Siddiq gets attacked by a walker whose head is full of spiders. He barely manages to kill it and admits to Rick he is more scared of the spiders, to which Enid laughs at. Then, Rick thanks Anne for her lead in finding packages of seeds and beans.
Shortly after, the whole group reunites and gingerly uses ropes to drag an old covered wagon down the stairs and over the glass floor. The glass finally gives way and Ezekiel falls through it, dangling by the rope. Before the walkers can bite him, Daryl shoots at one and Rick and the others finally pull him to safety. Carol joyfully kisses him to celebrate.
The group leaves D.C. and prepare to head back to their own communities.
On the road, Rosita and Daryl catch up with everyone to inform them that the main bridge is out due to a storm. Rick tells Tara, Gabriel, Aaron and Anne to head back to Alexandria and the rest will go to an alternate route and spend the night at the Sanctuary, ignoring Maggie's request of seeing Hershel sooner.
In the woods, the wagon gets caught in the mud as walkers appear from the bushes. It finally budges and everyone rushes to gather the supplies until the walkers overwhelm them and they're forced to leave. Ken runs back to free his horses but is bitten in the arm by a walker and then kicked in the ribs by the horse.
Siddiq and Enid try to save him but Ken succumbs to blood loss and dies from his injuries. A saddened Maggie sobs by his side before putting him down.
At the Sanctuary, Rick and the group arrive to deliver supplies. Michonne points out graffiti that proclaims, "We are still Negan", and Daryl demands Justin to clean it up. Rick promises to the Saviors that he'll continue to support them so they can get back on their feet. Everyone applauds him and treat him like a celebrity.
Daryl pulls Rick aside to tell him that he no longer wants to lead the place because he doesn't belong there and since it's factory, it can't produce crops. He suggests he return to Hilltop to check on Maggie and Hershel, but Rick argues he should return to Alexandria. "Things have changed," Rick says, but Daryl claims it's because Rick changed them, before going out.
At night, Rick and Michonne settle into bed and Michonne asks if they did the right thing by letting Negan live. However, Rick stands by his choice. She then proposes that they create a charter between the communities: laying out guidelines and punishment. Rick agrees and tells her how lucky he is to have found her. They kiss and make love.
The next day, Daryl, Michonne and Rick arrive at the Hilltop to find the workers building gallows. Later, Rick asks Maggie to visit Alexandria but she says she can't because Negan's there. He asks for her help in fixing the bridge, which includes providing supplies to the Sanctuary. She says she'll only agree if the Saviors agree to provide the labor and fuel. Rick says he can't and he's obliged to help, but Maggie disagrees and reminds her that he never ended up following her as he promised, but now he should.
In the night, the residents, including Rick and Michonne, gather around the gallows as Maggie explains to her people that the punishment fits the crime. She looks on at Gregory, who has a noose around his neck and is sitting on a horse. Gregory pleads for someone to stop this, but no one moves. A couple of kids show up and Michonne yells for Maggie to stop but it's too late as Daryl smacks the horse and it rides off, leaving Gregory to hang to death to everyone's shock.
Maggie tells her people that she wants this to be the last time they do something like this. A shocked Rick and Michonne look on as Maggie then orders Daryl to cut off the noose.
In Alexandria, Rick goes down a basement to talk to someone. He mentions that it been 35 days since Gregory's execution.
He talks about how everything has changed after the war and how the communities are working together on fixing a bridge, which will the link to their future. "We're making a new beginning," Rick says smiling with hope.
At a camp, which the communities have set up in the woods, Rick plans a detonation with Eugene and Rosita that will serve to distract an oncoming herd. Nearby, Siddiq watches as Enid stitches Cyndie's hand. Rick orders Siddiq to return home with the next crew and tells Enid he has confidence on her.
Later, Rick arrives on the bridge to stop Daryl and Justin from fighting. He tells everyone to go back to work. He takes Daryl to his tent to calm him down, reminding him that they need the Saviors to help in building the bridge in spite of several deserters. However, Daryl says that the Saviors won't fall in line just because he says so.
Rick explains that he wants everyone to be on the same side, and Daryl questions if they actually are, before leaving. Carol advises Rick to talk to him once he has calmed.
On the river, Rick helps around while Tara updates him on the walker distraction plan, before radioing Jerry, so he could turn on a siren.
Alden arrives to inform that Rick that none of the deserter Saviors made it back to Sanctuary and their families are worried. Tara radios Rick again to warn him that the second siren didn't go off and the herd is coming.
Suddenly, the walkers arrive at the labor site and a commotion ensues. Jed panics and lets go of one of the giant logs, making it fall onto Aaron's arm, crushing it. Daryl yells to the crew to lift the log while he double-knives the walkers around him. They lift the log but Aaron's arm is crushed. Daryl carries Aaron to the camp as Rick and his group arrives to hold off the walkers. Rick shoots the log pile, which crushes the remaining walkers.
At night, Rick tells Justin to takes his things and leave and if he sees him again, a couple of stitches won't fix what he would do to him. He then goes to Enid and says that she did a good job with Aaron. Rick apologizes to Aaron for what happened. Aaron says that he couldn't know and claims that thanks to Rick: "It's not the end of the world anymore... It's the start of a whole new one."
In the camp, as everyone laughs and talks, Carol asks Ezekiel for the ring. He gets excited and it's about to give a speech but she tells him that he can tell her the speech later. She puts on the ring and they hug and smile. Rick happily watches them from his tent.
Back on Alexandria, Rick finishes narrating his story to a locked up Negan.
Negan taunts him with Carl but an angry Rick shuts him up. He says he should be quiet and listen, but Negan says "You're not saving this world, Rick. You just get it ready for me".
In Alexandria, Rick wakes up from bed and kisses Michonne. He places his hand over Carl's handprint, before taking a stroll through the community.
Later, he returns to his house and thanks Michonne for being amazing and for everything she does. He suggests that they could find other ways of building for the future, implying having a baby. Michonne kisses him and they make love.
After Rick takes Judith to Siddiq to check on her, he and Michonne spend a family day with her playing, having a picnic and reading stories. Suddenly, Scott runs up and informs them that Maggie found Justin as a walker, but it doesn't look like an accident.
At the camp, before a fight can ensue, Rick rides in the middle of the group with his gun drawn and warns everyone to back off. After they disperse, Rick questions Gabriel on where Anne was last night when Justin disappeared. Gabe vouches for her but Rick instructs him to keep an eye out for her.
Alden asks Rick if some of the Saviors can receive guns but Rick says they need to figure out what happened first. Maggie asks Rick who he thinks killed Justin, and he looks at Daryl.
Rick confronts Daryl about Justin, suggesting he might have been shot with an arrow or bolt. "If I was going to kill him, I'd a done it in plain sight" he counters before saying the Saviors don't deserve to have a new beginning while their dead friends didn't get a chance.
Rick ends the conversation asking Daryl to try, reminding him that he once spared the man who left his brother on a rooftop to die.
Later, in the woods, Rick, Daryl and Rosita arrive to save Cyndie and Maggie from a group of walkers. They check on Beatrice over the walkie but receive no response, so they try to find her and locate her unconscious in the woods. When she wakes up, she tells them she was attacked from behind and that Arat is missing.
At the camp, Rick implores his team to find Arat before the Saviors find out and leave, delaying the bridge construction.
On the woods, while Rick and Carol are searching for Arat, he says he's constantly tempted to kill Negan but stops himself by reminding himself to build life, not take it.
Suddenly, Jed and D.J. ambush Carol and Rick. He holds Carol at knifepoint while Rick points a gun at his head. Jed explains to Rick that this is about getting their guns back for protection before leaving. Carol sneakily pulls a knife out of her sleeve and stabs him in the shoulder while Rick forces D.J. to his knees.
The next morning, Rick watches in disappointment as the Saviors leave the campsite.
In Alexandria, as Rick sleeps, Michonne goes out in the nights to kill walkers on the woods.
At the camp, Eugene updates Rick on the status of the rising river in relation to their bridge construction. He apologizes for the bad news but Rick reminds him how valuable he is to them, making him smile.
Inside the main tent, Carol tells Rick she's taking her people back to Kingdom while the Sanctuary figures out who they want to be. He tearfully accepts her decision and looks down with sadness. Suddenly, Jerry arrives to warn Rick about Maggie's march to Alexandria. He immediately radios Rachel to warn his people not to let Maggie into the community, but Rachel picks up a magazine and ignores the request. Daryl overhears Rick and tells him he'll take him to Alexandria himself.
On the road, Daryl rides past the right turn and Rick angrily tells him to pull over. Rick asks what is he doing and Daryl reveals he messed with the relay so Maggie will be allowed into Alexandria to kill Negan. Rick jumps at him and the two wrestle until they roll into a giant ditch.
In the ditch, Rick and Daryl argue over the merits of keeping Negan alive. Daryl reminds Rick how Negan turned him into a slave and how no one's on board with him sticking around. Rick says if they martyr Negan then Carl will have died for nothing. Daryl tells Rick he'd die for him and he would have for Carl too, but he has to just let him go. Rick says he never asked anyone to follow him, and Daryl says, "Maybe you should have."
Suddenly, they hear gunshots coming from the camp and are forced to help each other escape. As they struggle to climb out, several walkers slip into the ditch. Rick finally crawls out of it and uses a tree branch to get Daryl out as well. With a horde building near the camp, Rick concocts a plan to lead them away while Daryl heads for the river.
On the road, as Rick is leading the horde away, he gets surrounded by another horde. Rick’s horse panics and throws him into a pile of rebar, which stabs him through his side. Rick cries in pain but loses consciousness as the walkers close in.
In a dream state, Rick talks to his past self in the hospital room from when he was in a coma, telling him to "wake up, it's time to go." Suddenly, Rick sees a flock of birds outside transform into helicopters, and then looks down to find his abdomen covered in blood. His past self jokingly tells him to wake up.
Back to reality, Rick wakes up, still pinned to the rebar. With walkers closing in, Rick uses his belt to painfully lift himself off of it. He miraculously crawls himself back on his horse and barely escapes the herd.
On the horse, Rick tells himself he needs to keep the horde close to lead them away. He goes in and out of consciousness and briefly dreams up an image of Hershel's farm. He rides to an old shack and finds a tablecloth he uses as a tourniquet before passing out.
In another dream, Rick rides on horseback to Atlanta and finds Shane in their old police car. Suddenly he's inside and they're back at the field on the day he was shot, eating burgers. Rick tells Shane he's looking for his family, and Shane jokes that it's technically his family and asks if he is taking care of his daughter. Rick jokingly calls him an asshole. Shane compliments him for killing him in that field, biting Joe's throat out, and slaughtering Gareth to death, but then asks why he let Negan live. He encourages him to find his rage and "get it done."
Rick looks down at the burgers, which are now dust, and apologizes to Shane for what he did to him. Shane forgives him and furiously tells him to wake up, waking Rick back into reality long enough to avoid several walkers on the shack. He barely escapes out the back and gets back on the horse.
On the road, Rick clings to life as the herd continue to follow him. He hallucinates again and this time he's back at the farm. Hershel greets him and boasts he has his leg back. Rick embraces him and apologizes for what happened to him and his family, but Hershel reminds him Maggie's strong. Rick tells him he has to find his family, but Hershel tells him he doesn't and just has to wake up.
Rick wakes up before hallucinating again. He's back in the hospital and sees a familiar door, reading, "Don't Open, Dead Outside.", He walks through it and finds a sea of dead bodies of all his friends, dead and alive. Rick walks among them until he sees Sasha. She tells him none of this is real and it's time for him to wake up. "When you put all of us together, your family, you're not going to find them because they're not lost. And you're not lost," she tells him. Rick wakes up again and is thrown off the horse near the, now abandoned, camp as it runs off.
Rick finds a gun and shoots at a reanimated Norris and Kathy. The noise attracts the herd, so he summons the strength to limp away before collapsing near the bridge. Suddenly, Maggie, Carol, Ezekiel, and the others rush past him to kill the walkers. Michonne stops and sees Rick's wound. She reminds him she fell in love with him because he's a fighter. After killing the walkers, everyone stops to watch them. Michonne tells Rick how much she loves him and he tells her, "This isn't real." Michonne tells him to wake up and he does, now alone on the bridge.
The walkers approach as Rick hobbles away. He makes it across the bridge and turns around hoping to see the walkers fall through, to no avail. A walker makes its way inches away from Rick before getting shot in the head by a crossbow bolt. Rick watches as Daryl, Michonne, Maggie, and the rest arrive nearby.
Maggie and Michonne hatch a plan to divert the walkers but Rick won't allow it. He notices the dynamite on the bridge, takes aim, and says to himself "I found them," before shooting and igniting the dynamite. The bridge ignites and explodes as Michonne and the rest can only watch in horror. Assuming Rick is dead, Michonne screams out while Maggie and Carol comfort her. Daryl weeps and then walks away.
Nearby, the helicopter arrives to pick up Anne and her supposed "A." She pulls out her gun but suddenly spots a wounded Rick on the riverbank, still alive. She quickly radios that she has a "B" but he's strong and needs help immediately. She promises it's not a trick and explains she's just trying to save a friend who once saved her. They agree to her deal and lower the helicopter. Inside, Rick wakes up hooked up to medical equipment and Anne assures him he'll be fine and that "they" will save him. Rick falls asleep as the helicopter flies away into the unknown.
- Main article: Rick Grimes (Film Series)
In the present, Michonne recognizes a pair of boots amongst Virgil's things as having once belonged to Rick. Virgil points Michonne to a boat that washed up on the shore of Bloodsworth Island where Michonne finds an iPhone with Rick's name scratched into the back along with Japanese writing that reads "believe a little bit longer", and a drawing, part of which is clearly supposed to be Judith in Rick and Carl's old hat. Realizing that Rick may be alive and may have been on the boat, Michonne angrily confronts Virgil who convinces her that he knows nothing about Rick. Michonne later calls Judith and tells her about her discovery and Judith urges Michonne to try to find Rick. Using a location given in the boat's logbook, Michonne leaves Alexandria and takes off in search of Rick.
This list shows the victims Rick has killed:
- Leon Basset (Zombified)
- Hannah (Zombified)
- Summer (Zombified)
- Sophia Peletier (Zombified)
- Shane Walsh (Alive)
- Eisenberg (Alongside Daryl, Maggie, and Oscar)
- Bob Adams (Alongside Daryl, Maggie, and Oscar)
- Pete (Possibly, alongside Daryl, Maggie, and Oscar)
- Oscar (Indirectly Caused)
- Erin (Zombified)
- Charlie (Zombified)
- The Piglets (Caused)
- Lou (Alive)
- Alex (Caused)
- Terminus Butcher 1 (Alive)
- Terminus Butcher 2
- Crazed Man (Caused)
- Church Organist (Zombified)
- Gareth (Alive)
- Bob Lamson
- Pete Anderson
- Carter (Out of Mercy)
- Tommy (Before Reanimation)
- Blond Wolf
- Gabe (Before Reanimation)
- Abraham Ford (Indirectly Caused)
- Spencer Monroe (Zombified)
- Tough Grizzled Savior (Caused)
- Gordon (Caused, Zombified)
- Red Haired Savior (Caused, Zombified)
- Gracie's Father
- Bruce (Possibly, Out of Mercy or Before Reanimation)
- Evan (Caused)
- Savior POW (Alongside Morgan)
- Lance (Alongside his fellow Militia members)
- Norris (Zombified)
- Kathy (Zombified)
- 1 unnamed criminal (Alongside his fellow officers, Pre-Apocalypse)
- 4 unnamed Woodbury soldiers (3 Alive, 1 Zombified)
- 1 unnamed Prison newcomer (Before Reanimation)
- 6 unnamed Terminus residents (4 Caused, 2 Direct)
- 5 unnamed Wolves (4 Alive, 1 Zombified)
- 3 unnamed barn survivors (Zombified)
- 22 unnamed Saviors (21 Direct, 1 Caused)
- Numerous unnamed Chilton High School survivors (Zombified, alongside Michonne)
- 21 unnamed Scavengers (4 Alive, 17 Zombified)
- 3 unnamed Alexandria residents (2 Before Reanimation, 1 Zombified)
- 1 unnamed Hilltop resident (Zombified)
- 1 unnamed Kingdom soldier (Zombified)
- 1 deer (Caused)
- Possibly numerous unnamed criminals (Pre-Apocalypse)
- Numerous counts of zombies
|✔||Appears||✔||Voice is heard|
|👁||Appears with no lines||✔||Appears in a flashback|
|✔||Appears as a walker||🖼||Appears in a photograph/video|
|✔||Appears as a corpse||✔||Appears in a hallucination/dream|
- According to Robert Kirkman, regarding his inspiration behind the character, he stated "Rick Grimes is really just a bunch of made up stuff that I thought would work. Every writer kind of writes themselves to a certain extent so all the sadistic stuff in Rick Grimes is totally me! Not really. It's just a character I'm pretending exists in my head and then writing the stories down on paper as you do." 
- 100 actors auditioned for the role of Rick Grimes, most notably Jamie Bamber, Stuart Townsend, Ethan Embry, Mark Pellegrino and Thomas Jane, eventually Andrew Lincoln was officially cast in April 2010 due to Robert Kirkman labeling him as 'an amazing find'.
- In preparation for the role, Andrew Lincoln stated that he sought inspiration from Gary Cooper from his work in the American western film High Noon (1959), whom Lincoln cited as an influence to his character: "He's a divided man between his responsibilities and his marriage. He's not like the Clint Eastwood figure, the loner. It's more complicated than that. He's got a softer heart, so that was definitely an inspiration for me as well."
- Andrew Lincoln also noted that he took inspiration from the novel The Road, most notably from "the man" portrayed by Viggo Mortensen, who shares several similarities to Rick. Both survivors are southern American and appear to be in their 40s. They both lost their wives during the apocalypse and travel with their sons in search of a safe haven.
- Rick's signature weapon was his Colt Python until he lost it during the bridge explosion. It was later found by Michonne who later gave it to his daughter, Judith.
- Just like his comic counterpart, Rick also used a hatchet, the melee weapon that he carried later in the series. After his disappearance during the bridge explosion, the location of the hatchet or who currently possessed it is unknown.
- Rick is tied with his son for killing the second most amount of members from the original Atlanta Group. Rick himself killed Shane, while Carl put down his mother Lori after childbirth.
- Rick was awarded the 2014 People's Choice Award for Favorite TV Anti-Hero.
- Rick has appeared in the third most episodes over any other character, having appeared in 103 episodes, followed by Daryl, who appears in 128 episodes, and Carol, who appears in 107 episodes.
- Rick does not have any form of religious beliefs, and is shown to be an atheist - this has been supported several times throughout the series.
- In "Days Gone Bye" he reluctantly agrees to say grace during a meal with Morgan and Duane.
- In "What Lies Ahead," upon entering a church he claims to have been "never much of a believer."
- In "Cherokee Rose," when discussing the theme of religion alongside Hershel Greene, Rick firmly stated "Last time I asked God for a favor my son got shot. I try not to mix it up with the almighty anymore, best we stay out of each others way." Rick also reveals that he sees no divine intervention whatsoever in his waking up from his coma and finding his family in the midst of the apocalypse or Carl's survival from being shot and simply claims that God has a strange sense of humor.
- In both "Wildfire" and "Judge, Jury, Executioner" Rick implies that he does not believe in an afterlife while speaking to a dying Jim when he claims he wants to be reunited with his family after his death to which Rick does not understand and states his family is dead and attributes his words to his worsening infection and later while criticizing Carl for insulting Carol over believing that Sophia is in heaven, claiming that Carol wants to believe that Sophia is still alive in some way as way of dealing with her grief over her death.
- In "Strangers," through his interactions with Father Gabriel, Rick dryly remarks, "You only tell your sins to God."
- In "Heads Up," Rick coldly tears down Gabriel's prayer service notes; however, this could also stem from Rick's hatred specifically toward Gabriel at the time.
- Rick owns a silver Kenneth Cole Watch, which he keeps as a personal memento of his father. 
- Rick's blood type is A+, the same type as Carl's.
- Through a deep conversation with Hershel after recalling his encounter with Clara, Rick stated that he nearly became close to her fate implying that Rick may have contemplated suicide after Lori's death.
- According to Gregory Nicotero, Rick carries the exact bullet that Carl used to kill Lori inside of his pocket (as chosen by Andrew Lincoln while playing the role).
- Although Rick has primarily shown to be right-handed, he has been shown several times throughout the show to use weapons with his left hand. It is possible that Rick is ambidextrous: This is hinted at in "Indifference" when Sam questions if Rick is "righty or lefty," to which Rick does not reply.
- As shown in his house, Rick owned an American flag painting, indicating that he was patriotic.
- Interestingly, his grandfather was a World War 2 veteran.
- Rick appears to be a fan of Georgian music including Ronnie Dawson "Action Packed" as well as Old 97's "If my heart was a car." of which he keeps on a personal CD.
- Rick's clothes from the third season premiere can be purchased as an Xbox 360 Avatar outfit.
- Rick is the first character in the television series to directly kill a living person (Dave) after the apocalypse. Although Shane was the first character, overall, who caused the death of a living character (Otis).
- Rick has killed the fifth largest amount of living characters on the TV show with a total of at least 68 victims, Daryl has the fourth largest with at least 78, Carol has the third largest with at least 102, Simon has the second largest with a total of at least 172, Negan has the largest with a total of at least 225.
- Rick has killed the most season primary antagonists in the series, with a total of four: Shane Walsh, Joe, Gareth and Pete Anderson.
- Rick has also killed the largest amount of named antagonists in the series with a total of 19: The 4 aforementioned characters, Dave, Tony, Tomas, Lou, Dan, Alex, Mike, Albert, Bob Lamson, Ethan, Primo, Jiro, Yago, Evan, and Lance.
- With the exception of the Governor's Militia, Rick killed at least one member from every antagonistic group encountered on the show during his duration.
- Rick bears several scars including one located on his left shoulder (after being stabbed by Morgan), as well as gunshot wound on his left leg during the second prison attack. Additionally he later bears one located across his nose alongside another scar located underneath his right eye (which he sustained after his fight against Pete). Rick also has a scar on his right hand from one of Winslow's spikes piercing it.
- Rick is one of the two characters (the other being Morgan Jones) who physically appeared in the Pilot and are still alive, though both characters are no longer apart of the TV Series.
- Season 9 is the last season of the show in which Rick will appear.
- Though he will not return to the show, it has been confirmed that his story will continue in at least three AMC feature films, with Andrew Lincoln continuing to play Rick.
- Rick is the only Atlanta Camp survivor to currently have an unknown status.
- It was revealed that Rick was originally going to die in Season 8.
- He is one of seven characters to appear in both The Walking Dead and Fear The Walking Dead following Morgan Jones, Carol Peletier, Paul Rovia, Dwight, Sherry, and Beta.
- Unlike his comic counterpart, Rick has had another child brought into the apocalypse in the TV Series, R.J. Grimes.
- He and Michonne are the sixth couple to have a child during the apocalypse - the first being Lori and Shane's daughter Judith, followed by the two infants from the Kingdom, a Savior's daughter Gracie, Maggie and Glenn's son Hershel Rhee, Nabila and Jerry's son Ezra and daughters Aliyah and Mariam, and a Frances's son Adam Sutton.
- Rick is a playable character in other media such as PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds Mobile, Magic: The Gathering, and Brawlhalla.
- Rick and Shane make a cameo appearance in Issue 81 of Invincible, another comic series created by Robert Kirkman.
|Language||Dubber||Other Characters Voiced|
Ivo Novák (Fear)
|Portuguese||Marco Antônio Abreu||Abel|
|Spanish (Latin America)||Diego Brizzi (1-"Seed"; 4-7A)
Pedro Ruiz ("Sick"-3B)
Sebastián Fernández (7B-9)
Geno Sánchez (Fear)
Shane Walsh (1-2)
|Spanish (Spain)||Juan Amador Pulido||N/A|
- Better Angels
- Rock in the Road
- Days Gone Bye
- CM Andrew Lincoln News
- DS Andrew Lincoln Interview
|Torn Apart||Billy • Jamie • Andrew • Judy • Mike • Hannah|
|Cold Storage||Chase • Kelly • Rick • Carl • Lori • Shane • Harris • Lenny • B.J.|
|The Oath||Paul • Gale • Karina|
|Flight 462||Alex • Jake • Nicholas • Connie • Deidre • Anthony • Suzanne • Marcus|
|Passage||Sierra • Gabi • Colton|
|Red Machete||Mandy • Tony • Michonne • Billy • Harley • Martin • Mike • Albert • Negan • Bob • Gareth • Joe • Derek • David • Alyssa • Jerel|
|The Althea Tapes||Althea • Ed • Earl • C.J. • Clark • Jody • Samora|
|Walkers||Jaime • Welch • Callaway|
|Alive characters appear in green. Unknown characters appear in blue. Dead characters appear in red and italics. Undead characters appear in gray and italics.|
Dead Reckoning Characters
|Sheriff's Department||Shane • Leon • Don|
|Taylor Family||Gary's Cat • Gary • Patricia|
|Grimes Family||Rick • Lori • Carl|
|Miscellaneous Characters||Reporter • Mrs. Heller • Robb • Paul|
|Alive characters appear in green. Unknown characters appear in blue. Dead characters appear in red and italics. Undead characters appear in grey and italics. Determinant characters appear in purple. Without italics, determinant characters either die, stay alive or are left with unknown status.|